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What parents need to know about ‘digital self-harm’

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As all parents are acutely aware, social media poses many risks, many of which are new and unfamiliar.While many parents are aware of self-esteem issues related to cyberbullying and social media, there is another phenomenon. It’s called digital self-harm, and it’s been on the rise in recent years.

“Digital self-harm is anonymously posting, sending, or sharing harmful content about yourself online. Sameer HindujaProfessor of Criminology at Florida Atlantic University and co-director Cyberbullying Research Center.

Given its anonymity, digital self-harm can be very difficult for parents to notice. It is difficult for researchers to study.However, as Hinduja and his colleagues discovernot only is it a relatively common behavior among young people, but those who engage in it are at increased risk of suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide.

How prevalent is digital self-harm?

in the First study on digital self-harm publishedPublished by Hinduja and his colleague Justin Patchin, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Data collected in 2016 It was shown that approximately 6% of the youth surveyed had engaged in digital self-harm at least once.

“Six percent doesn’t seem like much, but when you apply it to the millions of children in America, it’s a lot,” says Hinduja. “Think of a classroom with 20 kids, and she’s one in 20.”

This number may also be increasing.and Recent research Published by Hinduja and his collaborators, 9% The percentage of youth surveyed who reported engaging in digital self-harm suggests that its prevalence may be increasing.

Why do adolescents engage in digital self-harm?

“Young people are increasingly coping with mental health struggles, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hinduja. “Unless you are intentionally cared for by caring adults who are actively involved in your offline and online lives, you and I grow up to be exposed to stress and pain in dysfunctional ways.” I tend to deal with it. likewise. ”

There are many reasons for digital self-harm. In a Hinduja study that included gathering feedback from young people who engaged in digital self-harm, some of the reasons given were due to self-loathing, depressive symptoms, attention-seeking purposes, or unkind responses to others. It was something.

“Digital SelfHarm could be a cry for help, a call for attention, or some kind of twisted way to see which of your peers will step up. Advocate for them, identify who are true friends and who are not true friends,” Hinduja said. “We know that traditional self-harm is associated with suicidal thoughts and attempts. Just as it can lead to attempts to reconcile, this may also be an attempt to release painful feelings that cannot be negotiated or reconciled.”

Digital self-harm is associated with higher suicide rates

in the Latest research on digital self-harmHinduja and his collaborators surveyed middle and high school students This study, collected in 2019, looked at the link between digital self-harm and suicidal tendencies.

They found that people who self-harmed digitally were 5 to 7 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts, and 9 to 15 times more likely to have them. Twice as likely to attempt suicide,” Hinduja said.If you find your child engaging in this practice, it’s something please take it very seriously. It’s a sign they need help.

How to detect digital self-harm

“Detecting digital self-harm is very difficult because we don’t know who is committing the aggression,” Hinduja said. “I’m pretty sure it must be a classmate from school or a stranger.” These harmful messages could be digital self-harm.

“Parents, educators, and even law enforcement should recognize that harmful or hateful messages received online by children may actually be sent by that child. We need to keep it,” said Hinduja. “The dangers of classmates at school and strangers online cannot be quickly guessed.”

Although difficult, it is important for parents to actively monitor their children’s electronic device usage and social media activity. “We want to walk the fine line between giving children autonomy at a certain age and protecting them,” said a licensed professional counselor. Christopher Hansen said Thrive Works.

One clue that something more might be going on is If your child has multiple accounts, including accounts with anonymous or different names. Another clue for her is if your child’s reaction to cyberbullying seems a little odd.

what parents should do

If you find out that your child is digitally self-harming, this will likely spark many emotions within you, from fear to shock to confusion. it is important to suppress these feelings.

“It’s not just words, it’s body language. Because our youngsters will quickly notice us and shut up. Because we’re very critical and often we’re not comfortable with it.” It’s the technology,” says Hinduja.

If your response is to ask why your child is doing this or is he angry at them, say, “It only reinforces the shitty way they feel about themselves.” “This is a real problem, a real problem,” said Hansen.

Instead, you should focus on making them feel supported and understood. Also, as a parent, your priority is to make sure they are healthy and have the support they need. I hope I can return to being a young child,” said Hinduja.

of 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides free, confidential support to those in distress 24 hours a day and can provide resources for you and your loved ones.

What parents need to know about ‘digital self-harm’

Source link What parents need to know about ‘digital self-harm’

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