Social media becoming barometer for self-harm as rates rise – ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Social media becoming barometer for self-harm as rates rise – ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

So do social media act as a barometer for self harm, or do they serve as a vector for transmission of self-harm ideas/methods? Or do they serve to escalate the requirements for visualisation of pain – “if I’m in x amount of emotional pain, it should lead to y amount of self-harm …”

Thoughts?

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  1 comment for “Social media becoming barometer for self-harm as rates rise – ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation

  1. llasala
    September 12, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    Is it that self-harm rates have risen, or just “reported” rates? Perhaps young people feel that Tumblr (or any other social media site) is a safe place for them to discuss and display their self-harming behaviours. Much like friendship groups discuss shared experiences openly. I think what is evident here, is that young people see these sites as safe, and they see other users as ‘similar peers’ who they can confide in or look to for advice/attention/acknowledgement/information etc.

    Thats not to say that some vulnerable people look to these sites for information. Perhaps the accessibility and quantity of this type of information, in a location that young people deem as safe and trustworthy, is ‘normalising’ these behaviours? Similar to the findings whereby young people who see images of their friends drinking or smoking on their SNSs, are more likely to a) list intentions to drink or smoke, and b) actually drink or smoke. If young people are off the impression that ‘everyone else who feels/thinks/looks/seems like me is doing bla bla bla’ then perhaps they too are more likely to engage in those behaviours. This isn’t surprising, considering what developmental stage adolescents are in.

    Lastly, “It’s definitely not attention-seeking behaviour, it’s not somebody saying, ‘hey look at me’,” – this is exactly what i am trying to get at with my arguments surrounding attention seeking behaviours. Seeking attention from others, doesn’t have to be a BAD thing. Behaviours online that specifically lend themselves to feedback by peers and other users, are seeking (some type of) attention. Posts on Tumblr are designed to be ‘shared’, ‘commented’ or ‘followed’. Therefore, any postings on this site are looking for a TYPE of attention. It might just be that the motivations behind the post, or the type of attention sought are fundamentally different to other postings. The words “attention-seeking” bring with them negative connotations that elude to being egotistical and having very narrow-minded, self enhancing properties. That doesn’t have to be the case. Seeking attention can be just that and any kind of behaviour that is a pursuit of “hey look at me” doesn’t have to be negative or narcissistic. The motivations behind the need and type of attention need to be taken into consideration.

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