Cyberbulling Yourself? It’s Happening

I’m sure you’ve heard of cutting, where someone intentionally cuts themselves.  It is a problem that is mostly found among teens, and inordinately with girls.  I am also sure you have heard of cyber bullying, where someone (or a group of people) uses social media to harass another person (or other people).  A recent study revealed that SOMETIMES the people being harassed are victims of their own harassment.  It’s a form of digital cutting, if you will, and it’s more prevalent than you might imagine.

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From Science Daily

 

A new form of self-harm in youth has emerged and is cause for concern. The behavior: ‘digital self-harm’ or ‘self-trolling,’ where adolescents post, send or share mean things about themselves anonymously online. The concern: it is happening at alarming rates and could be a cry for help. A new study is the first to examine the extent of this behavior and is the most comprehensive investigation of this understudied problem.

Adolescents harming themselves with cuts, scratches or burns has gained a lot of attention over the years not just because of the physical damage and internal turmoil, but also because it has been linked to suicide. More recently, a new form of self-harm in youth has emerged and is cause for concern, warns a researcher and bullying expert from Florida Atlantic University.

The behavior: “digital self-harm,” “self-trolling,” or “self-cyberbullying,” where adolescents post, send or share mean things about themselves anonymously online. The concern: it is happening at alarming rates and could be a cry for help.

A new FAU study is the first to examine the extent of this behavior and is the most comprehensive investigation of this understudied problem.

“The idea that someone would cyberbully themselves first gained public attention with the tragic suicide of 14-year-old Hannah Smith in 2013 after she anonymously sent herself hurtful messages on a social media platform just weeks before she took her own life,” said Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., study author, a professor in FAU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the College for Design and Social Inquiry, and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “We knew we had to study this empirically, and I was stunned to discover that about 1 in 20 middle- and high-school-age students have bullied themselves online. This finding was totally unexpected, even though I’ve been studying cyberbullying for almost 15 years.”

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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines.
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