Alarming effect of online self-harm images revealed
Polling commissioned in the run up to Self-Harm Awareness Day has shed light on the alarming number of 11-21 year olds exposed to online self-harm images. Organised by leading UK youth charities ChildLine, selfharmUK, YoungMinds and YouthNet, the research found that a significant number of young people ‘felt like hurting themselves’ in response to such images.
The polling also revealed the scale of young people self-harming in the UK today. Over half of 11-14 year olds have either self-harmed themselves or know someone who has self-harmed, whilst eight out of every ten 18-21 year olds say they have self-harmed or know someone who has self-harmed.
- One in every four 11-14 year olds and seven out of ten 18-21 year olds said they had seen images online showing someone self harming
- Of those who had seen an image of someone self-harming, over half of all 11-14 year olds and one in every four 18-21 year olds said they had ‘felt like hurting themselves’ after seeing these images
- Of those who d seen an image of someone self-harming, nine out of every ten 11-14 year olds and eight out of every ten 18-21year olds said they had found the images upsetting
- Of those who had seen an image of someone self-harming, six out of every ten 11-14 year olds and one in ten 18-21 year olds said they had shared images of someone self-harming on social media
- Over half of all 11-21 year olds said they wouldn't know how to report an image of someone self-harming on social media
- Around a third of 11-18 year olds and 69% of 18-21 year olds said they would go online for support and information about self-harm
Speaking on behalf of the charities, Lucie Russell, Director of Campaigns at YoungMinds said that the findings were extremely worrying and asked concerning questions about the relationship between self-harm, children and parts of the online world.
Our research shows that exposure to images of people self-harming online is far too common among children and young people and that this exposure is having a significant effect on their well-being. There is urgent needs for more detailed research so that we can gain a deeper understanding of why the numbers of young people who are self-harming are continuing to climb at such an alarming rate
Self-Harm Awareness Day
To mark Self-Harm Awareness Day (Sunday March 1st), YoungMInds and YouthNet, who contributed to the research, are running a week-long online awareness campaign.
You can follow the Self-Harm Awareness Day activity on Twitter via #selfharm and #selfharmawarenessday and find out more about the campaign on each of the charities websites.