Digital Self Harm: A new Form of Emotional Abuse Among Teens

Teen emotions can be dangerous. Some know how to handle their problems well but some turn to self harm as a way to cope with their emotional pain. Self harm isn’t only about hurting themselves physically but also psychologically. A lesser known type of harm to teens however is digital self-harm or cyberbullying oneself. To be more exact, these kids anonymously post offensive content towards themselves online through ghost accounts across social media platforms.

A survey that was published back in 2017 through the Journal of Adolescent Health stated that 6% of students among 5,593 high schoolers had engaged in the act of digital self harm. The various factors that causes these teens to indulge in digital-self harm was due to mostly their abnormal behaviour, drug use and their experience as the victim of school bullying and cyber bullying.

Experts says that the amount of teens who turns to digital self harm keeps increasing as years pass especially amongst young boys. And according to Elizabeth Englande (2013),the reasons they engage on such behavior includes to get attention from others and also to encourage others to worry about them.  Some of these young kids actually hope they can find a type of support through giving themselves negative remarks because they feel that it’s easier for them to come forward and ask for help anonymously and through social media platforms rather than directly to the people around them.

There’s also another factor behind their action of cyberbullying themselves. According to child psychologist, Sheryl Ziegler, a young lady she counseled expresses that she particulary engage herself in digital self harm was because she believed that by insulted herself first the insults from others would not be as bad. The rise of digital technology should have been a positive impact to the young society. It’s supposed to be a way for them to gain more knowledge, publicize their creativity to the community, create connection and spread positivity but instead it causes harm to others and even towards themselves through the act of online bullying.    

Digital self harm may sound harmless and might result in support and acceptance from peers but these could also effect their own self esteem and social interaction. It’s important for parents to have a constant and honest conversation with their kids. It’s the best way to make kids more assured to come forward and ask for support when they’re struggling with their emotional issues. If these teens don’t get help for their mental problems,their struggle will worsen and it will lead them to a serious depression and possibly worse, death.

by: V Rizal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *