The Internet and the services that have been developed for it are usually helpful; sometimes a little funny or off-beat, but for the most part, they can help us in our work or personal lives. On the other hand, we sometimes see these services used in indiscriminate and harmful ways. That’s where this story fits in.
Although not the first suicide on the Internet, it is the first I’ve seen. In November 2008, a 19-year-old man posted to Justin.tv that he was going to kill himself. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time he’d done this, so some thought he wasn’t serious. Others thought it was a joke. Unfortunately, this time, he was serious.
Justin.tv is a place to broadcast and watch live video online while chatting with friends. While streaming, this man took pills as others encouraged him through chat (again, probably assuming this was a prank.) Some watchers became alarmed when he didn’t move and tracked him down to Broward County, Florida and called the police. By the time they arrived, he was dead.
The video, of course, has been pulled, but there is still much information posted on various sites from people who saw it. If you want to read it, you can find it. Just let me say that it is very depressing.