What Is ‘Self-Trolling’, The New Trend Of Self-Harm Among Adolescents?
A new online trend is spreading among adolescents in America, raising concern among psychological professionals and parents alike. The Journal of Adolescent Health released a study that found six percent of teens have participated in this behavior called ‘self-trolling’ or ‘self-bullying’ and professionals are considering it a form of self-harm. More than 5,500 teens were studied to determine how often this practice takes place and what the effects are.
The online world has been a point of contention for parents and professionals. Increasing amounts of studies have revealed that teens who spend copious time online or on social media suffer psychological consequences. Research has found teens can even physical consequences. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, low self-esteem, body image issues, bullying, and more have been the results of teens’ interactions with the online world.
‘Trolling’ is an internet slang term used to describe someone who goes out of their way to create negativity on the internet. They bully, harass, and intimidate people online with mean comments and gestures. Teens are deeply affected when they are ‘trolled’ online, by peers that they know, or strangers that they don’t. This new trend reveals that teenagers are ‘trolling’ themselves, going out of their way to post mean comments and take cruel gestures toward themselves online, anonymously. Researchers call this ‘self-bullying’ and define the practice as: “sharing hurtful content about oneself, such as by posting it on a social media site or sending it to a friend.”
Participants were between the ages of 12-17 years old. Some of the findings, reported by Good Therapy included:
- 6% of teens had participated in the practice of self-bullying
- Boys practiced self-bullying more often than girls
- Half of the teens only participated in self-bullying once
- About 35% of teens said they participated in self-bullying ‘a few times’
- Just 13% of teens reported self-bullying ‘many’ times
- Boys admitted to bullying themselves “as a joke or to get attention” more than girls
- Girls admitted that the self-bullying “was a way to cope with depression and psychological pain.”
- Teens who had been the victim of cyber bullying previous were 12 times more likely to participate in self-bullying
The most problematic finding which should stand out to parents is that “Drug use, behavioral issues, symptoms of depression, and self-harm offline” had strong connections to the prevalence of self-bullying.
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