YouTube videos that show teens deliberately cutting and injuring themselves are viewed by millions of online watchers -- something a new study suggests might make these disturbing acts seem mainstream and normal.
The study, published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, notes that nonsuicidal self-injury -- cutting or physically hurting oneself in some way -- consistently appears in about 14% to 24% percent of children, teens and young adults.
Researchers studied the top 100 videos of such acts on YouTube and found they had received more than 2 million page views. Viewers ranked some of them, some showing graphic videos or photos of injuries, as favorable.
"The nature of nonsuicidal self-injury videos on YouTube may foster normalization of nonsuicidal self-injury and may reinforce the behavior through regular viewing of nonsuicidal self-injury-themed videos," the study says. "Graphic videos showing nonsuicidal self-injury are frequently accessed and received positively by viewers." Here's an abstract of the study.