Did you know that there are pro-eating-disorder-websites? For example, there are hundreds of pro-anorexia, or “pro-ana,” discussion groups on the Internet. Although some of these webpages claim to be non-judgmental support groups for people suffering from anorexia, many provide tips for losing weight, and post “inspirational” pictures of extremely thin people. Some even claim that anorexia is a valid lifestyle choice. Since these websites first began to appear, doctors and clinicians have grown increasingly concerned about the effect they might have on those suffering from eating disorders, especially young girls. Studies suggest that visiting these websites negatively affects self-esteem and body image, and that the severity and length of an eating disorder can be made worse by visiting them. Some experts and advocates have called for these pro-eating-disorder sites to be banned or blocked by various governments around the world.
For your assignment … What is your opinion — should pro-anorexia websites be banned or not? Does freedom of speech apply to these websites? Should websites be banned if they encourage dangerous behaviors? Should websites that encourage drug use or even skydiving be banned? Do you believe that closing pro-ana websites would reduce the prevalence of anorexia?