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That Google should inform the authorities about suicide searches

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Debatebeatuy123Debatebeatuy123 (PRO)
I think google should inform the authorities if somone searches sucudal because then the authorities would be able to take action help that person and maybe that wouldn't cost anyone life. Maybe ap person just needed help but was scared to ask for it so they just decided sucked would be the best decision
Return To Top | Posted:
2016-09-21 15:53:32
| Speak Round
KelniusKelnius (CON)
Thanks for replying, I've been keen to have a debate on here for a while, you're my first, so thank you. Anyway, enough formalities.

I am arguing for the negative, which is to say that I disagree with the claim: "That Google should inform the authorities about suicide searches"
Now, I can understand wholeheartedly why this would seem appealing, and you list those reasons in your responses, Db123. I too believe that people who are suicidal should not be left to die; however, I disagree with the proposal that the authorities should be informed.

My first counterargument is that google is an international company. From what I can tell, there are 198 countries with access to Google[1]. This creates an issue for Google telling all authorities about people attempting suicide. Firstly, because suicide is illegal in the countries of Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Bahamas, Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore & the United Arab Emirates; and all of these places have their own google domain.
This can make life more difficult for people in these places, as for instance, in India attempted suicide can incur fines and up to a year in jail; In Malaysia and Singapore, you can see jailtime of up to a year; in Russia, you could even be put into a psychiatric hospital if they believe you're in imminent danger[2].

Now, of course, this alone may not seem all that big of an issue. After all, being put into prison is better than being dead, right?
Well, unfortunately this is a loaded question, because it assumes that when you are put in prison, you will survive, but suicidal people in prison are at a higher risk of suicide. This, to me, seems like common sense; but, so that I'm not just making unfounded claims, the CDC website[3] lists feelings of hopelessness; isolation & loss  as factors that increase suicide risk, all of which can be found in prison.
And even when you don't face prison time, in many of these countries, suicide prevention methods are just inadequate.

But this is just the places where you're considered a criminal. In some of the places where you're not, I still believe that authoritative intervention could increase your risk.
To begin with, I have always assumed that these "authorities" are the police, since that is the way this question is phrased, and how I interpret it, but that is a worrying thought. Police officers are not trained to deal with mental health issues, and in fact can make some people anxious. Especially since one of the risk factors of suicide is a history of alcohol or drug abuse, and if you get police raiding your house and finding drugs, you won't exactly be a picture of mental health, bringing back those factors of hopelessness, loss and unwillingness to seek help.

But, if we are talking about police, then the issue is, how would they intervene? If it is merely a phone call, then you can understand how this could make a person feel uncomfortable, or how it may be completely uneventful. However, if a police officer is sent to their house, that raises other issues, all of which fall under the banner of what I call intrinsic reticence
Basically, it's been shown that when treating persons who are at risk of suicide, one of the barriers preventing effective treatment is a lack of self-motivation, and it has been shown that when psychiatric patients with suicidal ideation "enter into treatment against their wishes, the experience of feeling controlled may reduce their engagement in treatment and the likelihood of a positive outcome."[4].
So, even if you can manage to intervene before a person attempts suicide, and you don't arrest them, by having a police officer or otherwise intervening before they are ready to seek help, you can actually reduce their desire to treat their suicidal tendencies.

All of this, I present to you in the hopes of showing that I disagree with the affirmative's claim that it wouldn't "cost anyone's life", since there is proof that it may in fact do the opposite.

And then, we reach the next issue that this is not a measure which will go unnoticed. If everyone knows that "Google reports suicide searches" then it could disincentivize suicidal people from seeking out help, since when people feel like they're being watched, it makes them intrinsically feel powerless. Monitoring searches like this will only make people feel uncomfortable.
Not to mention, what exactly "is" a suicide search? is it anything with the word 'suicide'? Because, as I was researching this topic, I googled the word suicide, would the police be alerted to me, or not? Or, would it be anything that could be construed as suicidal?
Would we even include searches done while in "private browsing"? To me, the very means by which we decide what a "suicide search" means, that either we condemn those who can't spell or misuse a potentially suicidally-inclined word, or we ignore the suicidal people who know how to avoid those particular keywords. "How to tie a noose"; "Most vulnerable gunshot wounds"; "poisons found in the home" & "euthanasia methods" are all terms I can see both a suicidal person or a moderately curious person typing into their google window.

But finally, whilst it's not the crux of my argument I feel the need to end on this note. Yes, suicide is a major issue at the moment and I am not suggesting that we do nothing to help them. However, Google is a very socially progressive company, and believe it or not they have not actually ignored this issue.
If you are reading this, I want you to open up Google.com in another window, and type in the word "suicide". Why? Well, I can't guarantee it for you, but for me, when I type that into the search bar, I find this:

(I took this photo myself, it can be found on kelnius.tumblr.com

When you type in suicide, it [for me, at least] gives a phone number for your local suicide prevention hotline, and links to mental health sites. Whilst I can't guarantee it's in place for all person's Google searches, I think that this is the best solution for this issue.
Because whilst persons like Db123, speaking for the affirmative, have their hearts in the right place, I feel as though their faith in the authorities is misplaced.
I hope that I have shown in this debate that delivering your information to the authorities puts people with suicidal ideation at risk of criminal penalty, prison time, isolation & increased suicide risk, which is why I firmly assert that Google should not inform the authorities about suicide searches.

Thank you.


[4]: Britton PC, Williams GC, Conner KR (June 2002). "Self-Determination Theory, Motivational Interviewing, and the Treatment of Clients With Acute Suicidal Ideation". Journal of Clinical Psychology, v.64, no.1, (2008), p.52-66 (available at http://selfdeterminationtheory.org/SDT/documents/2008_BrittonWilliamsConnor_JCP.pdf [warning, PDF, requires download])
[5]: Image source: kelnius.tumblr.com.

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-09-21 20:41:51
| Speak Round

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Basically, here is the situation:
I type "How to commit suicide" on Google. This is recorded and reported to the authorities(the state).
If you type "Suicide" on Google, they have a 24 hour helpline(National suicide prevention) and even a live online chat.
Here: https://www.google.com/search?q=Suicide&rlz=1C1RNPN_enUS447&oq=Suicide&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60l2.2015j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
The number is 1-800-273-8255.
Posted 2016-09-23 01:45:56
You just enter Cross-examination and type, then click enter and it will post on Cross-exam.
Posted 2016-09-22 03:49:22
How exactly does one do "cross-examination"? My posts don't seem to be working.
Posted 2016-09-21 20:45:43
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