Digital self-harm is so new you may not even know what it is. This type of self-harm is most popular among adolescents. So if you’re a parent, it’s especially important to be in the loop. This is a form of self-aggression. The aggression is geared towards oneself. Anonymously posting hurtful and or verbally abusive comments about oneself online constitute as “digital self-harm”.

By setting up a fake account, teens can then go on to their personal account and post degrading comments to themselves, from themselves. This form of self-harm can come about for a couple of different reasons. One, it could be viewed as a logical way to “beat others to the punch”. Attacking oneself before peers get to it. Secondly, this type of self-harm can be seen as a way to regulate feelings or hatred or sadness. Or a possible way to get attention from friends and family.

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Digital self-harm is an increasing issue among the teen population. Here are some precautions you can take as the parent:

Monitor social media. Pay close attention to your child’s posts, comments on their posts, and social media interactions in general. The first step to getting your child help is realizing there is a problem at hand. Whatever the motivation behind the act may be, digital self-harm highlights a deeper hurt that’s being publicized. If you see a negative or aggressive comment, examine the attached account. Next, ask yourself: is it a real account? Ask your child about the person who posted the comments. Then go from there.

Avoid judgment. Do not pass judgment. Digital self-harm can vary from evidence of serious emotional issues to a passing curiosity. If you find your child is digitally self-harming, avoid being judgmental. Overreacting can be disastrous. Talk the issue through. Identify the motives behind the action. You don’t have to agree with the way your child expresses his or her feelings, but they should be entitled to their own emotions. Support your child and let them know they are heard and understood. Evaluate the seriousness of the situation. If necessary, promptly, get professional help from a counselor or therapist.

Listen, observe. Pay attention to body language and tone. Understand the signs of depression or emotional distress in your teen. Listed in HelpGuide.org, signs of depression in teens can include sadness or hopelessness, irritability/anger, tearfulness, isolation, loss of interest in schoolwork or friends, lack of motivation, changes in eating or sleeping, abnormal fatigue or complaints of body aches, thoughts or jokes about death or suicide. If you suspect that a teenager is suicidal, take immediate action. For 24-hour suicide prevention and support in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

BlueFire Wilderness Therapy can help

BlueFire is a wilderness therapy program for adolescents ages 11-17. This program helps young people struggling with mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Students in this program learn healthy activities and how to incorporate them into their daily lives. The program also focuses on sharpening communication, conflict resolution, and wilderness-based skills. BlueFire teaches young people skills that they can transfer to their day-to-day lives. Students leave this program with a greater confidence and the skills they need to lead happy, healthy lives.

Contact us at 1 (844) 413-1999.

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