The following article is from here: Pro-Anorexia Websites 'Must Be Closed'
Health experts have launched a campaign against pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia websites to coincide with the start of Eating Disorders Week.
Specialists from Affinity Healthcare, which operates one of the country's largest eating disorders units at Cheadle Royal Hospital, Cheshire, want the campaign to make people more aware of the dangers of sites that promote eating disorders. It also wants internet service providers and social networks such as Facebook and MySpace to closely monitor the worst sites.
Over 1.1 million Britons suffer from an eating disorder with 90% being women, although experts say this number is higher as many cases go undiagnosed. The rise of the internet and new media has played a significant part in the increase in people with eating disorders, with websites and social networking sites providing easier access to information on how to get thin.
A recent study found that young women exposed to pro-ana websites subsequently felt more negative, had lower self-esteem, perceived themselves as heavier and were more likely to compare their bodies with other women.
Dr Ty Glover consultant psychiatrist at Cheadle Royal Hospital said: "We are horrified at the content of these sites and the tips they give on how to be thin.
"People with eating disorders are extremely vulnerable and often have very low self esteem, so pro-ana and pro-mia sites can be very damaging as they are sending out the wrong advice.
"The sites promote anorexia as a lifestyle but in reality it leads to long-term damage such as osteoporosis, hair loss, kidney problems, periods stopping, bad skin, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, stomach pains, constipation and in the most severe cases, death."
What a slippery slope. As one of the commenters to the article said, should every site that gives people a bad idea be closed down? Well, no. But who gets to decide what should be allowed and what is not?
I am against censorship, but I do feel a strong responsibility to look out for victims. It makes for some interesting personal conflict. I don't think it's a great idea to have websites with detailed instructions for building bombs, or for killing people, for example. Not everyone who finds themselves on a pro-ED site is an adult. Not everyone knows the danger they are getting into. Not everyone is well. How can they be protected from being lured into danger?
My experience with the Kimkins scam taught me how people can get caught up in the idea of eating less, learning tricks to lose appetite, going lower and lower until they lose all perspective about what is good for them. Most don't even realize how little they are eating, or if they do they still think it's too much. They hear the constant hum of 'it's OK to feel sick from it', 'you'll be ok', 'it won't hurt you', 'you're tough enough for this', 'you want to be thin', 'being overweight is the worst thing that can happen to you'. People get drawn in, thinking they can just do it for a while and then quit when they're done. Then they find out they can't quit. I know this isn't quite the same thing as the pro-ana sites, but there are some interesting parallels, and I can see where being in an environment can lead a person to go farther than they could on their own.
What do you think about this topic? I'd love to know.