Preventing Harmful Behaviour in Online Communities : Censorship and Interventions book cover
1st Edition

Preventing Harmful Behaviour in Online Communities
Censorship and Interventions

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 12, 2022
ISBN 9780367647407
April 12, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
200 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Preventing Harmful Behaviour in Online Communities explores the ethics and logistics of censoring problematic communications online that might encourage a person to engage in harmful behaviour.

Using an approach based on theories of digital rhetoric and close primary source analysis, Zoe Alderton draws on group dynamics research in relation to the way in which some online communities foster negative and destructive ideas, encouraging community members to engage in practices including self-harm, disordered eating, and suicide. This book offers insight into the dangerous gap between the clinical community and caregivers versus the pro-anorexia and pro-self-harm communities – allowing caregivers or medical professionals to understand hidden online communities young people in their care may be part of. It delves into the often-unanticipated needs of those who band together to resist the healthcare community, suggesting practical ways to address their concerns and encourage healing. Chapters investigate the alarming ease with which ideas of self-harm can infect people through personal contact, community unease, or even fiction and song and the potential of the internet to transmit self-harmful ideas across countries and even periods of time. The book also outlines the real nature of harm-based communities online, examining both their appeal and dangers, while also examining self-censorship and intervention methods for dealing with harmful content online.

Rather than pointing to punishment or censorship as best practice, the book offers constructive guidelines that outline a more holistic approach based on the validity of expressing negative mood and the creation of safe peer support networks, making it ideal reading for professionals protecting vulnerable people, as well as students and academics in psychology, mental health, and social care.

Table of Contents

Section 1: Contagions and Clusters 1.1 Untangling Dangerous, Infectious Behaviour 1.2 Clusters and Contagious Behaviour in Non-Suicidal Harmful Activities 1.3 Echoing Self-Harmful Contagions from Fiction Section 2: Harmful Ideas Online 2.1 An Overview of Echoing Self-Harmful Behaviours and the Internet 2.2 Further Behavioural Observations in Pro-Ana Communities Section 3: Exploring Censorship 3.1 The Ethics and Logistics of Censorship to Address Echoing Self-Harmful Behaviour 3.2 Censorship Alternatives

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Zoe Alderton is a lecturer at the University of Sydney where she teaches rhetoric and argumentation across disciplines. Her research spans across digital communications, religion, and museum studies.