Social Media and Teenage Suicide

In recent times, there has been more media coverage on the link between social medial and teenage suicide.

With popular Netflix documentaries such as “The Social Dilemma”, more research is coming to light on the psychological and physical effects of teenagers using social media.

Depression or other psychological wellness concerns may mask themselves in “common teenage” behaviours.

 Some of the signs and symptoms of depression or other mental health issues for teenagers using social media include: 

•           Hopelessness or sadness

•           Irritability, outrage, or aggression

•           Tearfulness or excessive crying

•           Withdrawal from loved ones

•           Loss of interest in regular daily activity

•           Poor school attendance

•           Changes in eating and resting propensities

•           Restlessness and agitation

•           Feelings of uselessness and blame

•           Lack of excitement and inspiration

•           Fatigue or absence of energy

•           Difficulty concentrating

•           Unexplained complaints of pain

Teenage Suicide

Social Media dangers for teenagers

Teenage suicide is the most common reason for death in teenagers of 10–24 years of ageOpens in a new tab. worldwide. 

The suicideOpens in a new tab. rate of teenagers and youth is increasing day-by-day due, with studies showing a strong correlation between teenage suicide and social mediaOpens in a new tab..

Social media such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Snapchat are the most popular forms of social media used by the teenage population.

These platforms help them to develop individual profiles, upload personal content, and communicate with people all around the world.

Statistics on Teenage Suicide

The suicide rate for youngsters and teens is rising. As per a September 2020 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesOpens in a new tab., the suicide rate for teenagers and children increased by 57.4% from 2007 to 2018.

It is the second-biggest reason for death in youngsters, missing the mark of just “mishaps”.

Teens in the U.S. who go through over 3 hours per day on social media might be at an increased danger for emotional wellness issues, according to a 2019 studyOpens in a new tab. in JAMA Psychiatry.

This study showed that young people active on social media might be at higher risk of psychological well-being concerns.

 More studies are required on “whether setting limits on every day social media use, expanding media education and overhauling social media stages are viable methods for decreasing the weight of psychological wellness issues in this populace.”

The Impact of Social Media on Teens

Affect of social media on teenage mental health

When looking for explanations behind teen suicide, it’s enticing to put the fault on social mediaOpens in a new tab..  This is due to the popular medium used by teenagers to engage and socialiseOpens in a new tab. with other people. 

There is no doubt that social media opens up children and teenagers to a world of negativity, cyberbullying and unrealistic expectations. This is an unfortunate state of affairs, where our kids are in safety (in most cases) of their home environment but are still getting harassed and bullied on social media.   

Not only does social media open up our teenagers and children to cyberbullying, but encourages unrealistic expectations of self,  reduced physical activity and disturbed sleep patterns.  

This is affecting their emotional and physical well-being, causing many issues with physical and personal development. 

These negative impacts are a reality, conceivable and normal in youths; however, the impacts of social media can be devastating, and it is essential to ensure the safety of our children.   

Influence of Social Media on Suicide in teenagers

Frequently, the media may depict self-destructive conduct or language, which can conceivably influence individuals to follow up on these suicidal tendenciesOpens in a new tab. or self-destructive inclinations.

Such models may incorporate news reports of real suicides, network shows, and movies that reenact suicides or such conduct, self-destructive readings, etc.

 In spite of the fact that this may influence all ages, more youthful people are all the more ordinarily affected or influenced by this.

The primary driver of suicide, suicidal tendenciesOpens in a new tab. or psychological instability, is the most immaculate subject in the media.

This is an essential issue that raised the conversation of how to fix it. There lies the proposition to introduce rules for media that limit what can be delivered about suicide.

A few worries from the media with respect to such thoughts incorporate a potential infringement of the right includes a possible violation of freedom of speechOpens in a new tab., which is something to contemplate.

The best way to deal with suicide counteraction on social media is to have open and honest conversations with our teens and teenagers, what to and what not to distribute in regards to this theme.

Social media and suicide is a moderately new wonder, which concerns social mediaOpens in a new tab.‘s influence on suicideOpens in a new tab.-related conduct.

Suicide is the main source of death around the world. Roughly 1.54 million individuals will die from suicide in the year 2020, as indicated by the World Health OrganizationOpens in a new tab.(WHO).

Suicide has been recognised as an individual marvel as well as being influenced by social and ecological components.

There is expanding proof that the Web and social media can influence suicide-related conduct. As the Web turns out to be more instilled in individuals’ regular daily existence, the psychological and passionate harm it can conceivably cause an individual increment.

Social media usage is growing at a rapid rate, especially in developing regions. There is an assortment of sources that are available to people in general in different structures. Locales incorporate Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, Snapchat, TikTok, VSCO, and that’s just the beginning.

While these stages were planned to take into consideration individuals to associate in a virtual manner, it has gotten ugly and can frequently be a harmful climate that prompts cyberbullying, uncertainty, and eventually suicide.

In one of the more broadly known cases, on the passing of Phoebe PrinceOpens in a new tab., it is commonly accepted that her suicide was an immediate result of tireless bullyingOpens in a new tab. and cyberbullyingOpens in a new tab..

Tormenting, be it on social media or not, or physical or not, is an enormous issue, essentially expanding casualties’ danger of self-destructive conduct.

One individual, who committed suicide live on social media stated, “I need to impart a message, and I need it to be passed around, regardless of whether it’s exceptionally stunning.”

Océane Ebem’s live-streamed it on a social media platform. In the live stream,  she discussed how she had been genuinely and explicitly mishandled by a loved one.

In light of her admission, those watching the live stream couldn’t think less about what she needed to state and how to help.

All things considered, they harassed her in the comments section of the platform and said unbelievably mean and pernicious things. Accordingly, she live-streamed her suicide, and many individuals were watching this occur from their livingrooms.

The media will often advocate recordings and social media contents to educate the nation regarding the rising difficulty, which may make a mainstream appeal to the youthful and juvenile personalities of teenagersOpens in a new tab..

Social media could give more severe dangers to the advancement of various types of supportive of self-destructive destinations, message boardsOpens in a new tab., visit rooms, and gatherings.

Additionally, the Web reports suicide occurrences as well as archives suicide techniquesOpens in a new tab. (for instance, suicide settlementsOpens in a new tab., an arrangement between at least two individuals to end it all at a specific time and regularly by similar deadly methods).

The job the Web plays, especially social media, in suicide-related conduct is a subject of developing interest.

How You Can Help Prevent Teen Suicide

How to ensure your teenager is safe using social media

The Centre for Disease Control recommends that parents monitor the use of social media,  have open and honest conversations around the usage, monitored their usage of social media, practice mindfulness and are well connected with family and friends in the real world.

Their guide, Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and PracticesOpens in a new tab., explores aspects of building supportive emotional networks within the family and education systems.  

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Take-Home Message

Current proof proposes that extreme or ‘hazardous’ utilisation of social media/web impacts suicideOpens in a new tab. hazard, explicitly expanding the danger of suicide endeavours.

More research is imperative to building up the evidence base of the connection between social media and mental health issues in teenagers.

As social media grows, awareness around the dangers and warning signs need to be further explored.  

There is an autonomous relationshipOpens in a new tab. between tricky utilisation of social media/web and suicide endeavours in youngsters. In any case, the course of causality, assuming any, stays hazy.

Helpful Resources

If you have any concerns about your mental health or another person. Please seek medical advice. Here are some helpful resources that you may find beneficial.

https://headspace.org.au/young-people/mental-health/Opens in a new tab.

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/young-people/helpful-contacts-and-websitesOpens in a new tab.

https://kidshelpline.com.au/Opens in a new tab.

https://kidshelpline.com.au/Opens in a new tab.

https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/education-services/navigating-your-teens-mental-health/
Social media can have negative affects on our teenagers mental health. Studies have shown that as social media usage has increased, so has teenage mental health issues including suicide rates. This is a scary statistic, but what can we do to help our teenagers deal with the pressure of social media.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media_and_suicide#cite_note-:0-1Opens in a new tab.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4721504/Opens in a new tab.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media_and_suicide#:~:text=There%20is%20substantial%20evidence%20that,to%20self%2Dharm%20and%20suicide.Opens in a new tab.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3477910/Opens in a new tab.

https://journals.lww.com/co-psychiatry/fulltext/2019/11000/social_media,_internet_use_and_suicide_attempts_in.12.aspxOpens in a new tab.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/teen-suicide-social-media-bullying-mental-health-contributing-to-rise-in-deaths/Opens in a new tab.

Emilie MASI

Nurse Practitioner Masters in Advanced Nursing Practice Graduate Diploma of Wound Care Masters of Wound Care

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