Why the Internet Could be Dangerous for Self Harming Teens

Posted on 04. Dec, 2013 by in Self Harm

There are many reasons why teens decide to harm themselves. Parents should know that self harming teens might be particularly vulnerable online, especially on social media. New research shows that teens and young adults who have considered harming themselves or even suicide tend to spend more time on the internet and are often more likely to be victims of cyberbullying. New forms of online communication make it easier than ever for predators and bullies to have access to teenagers and children.

Cyberbullying is a disturbing trend to any parent worried about their vulnerable child who is looking to the internet for social groups and meaningful interaction. Many teens turn to internet “forums” to meet friends. However, instead of finding friends, they often encounter bullying or other harmful people who encourage self-destructive behaviors. In fact, some self harming teens have even found “suicidal partners” who share suggestions on how to hurt themselves. Other teens face a constant barrage of bullying when they enter these online forums, groups and social media sites.

Psychiatrists say that while the internet may help kids who are naturally socially withdrawn to make friends, it may also stop them from properly forming other real life, normal social cues. This may only force them to get bullied in real life as well.

So what should parents do if they are worried about their self harming teens and time spent on the computer? Doctors agree that parents should take as active a role as possible in their teen’s life. Parents should monitor the amount of time teens spend online and also the sites they are visiting. There should be clear rules for internet use in your household, including duration spent online. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that computer and television use should be limited to two hours per day. In fact, it is never too early to talk with your kids about computers and the internet. They should know that it is okay to talk to their parents, a teacher or a doctor if they feel threatened online.

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