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What is the role of social media in self- injury among adolescents, and how can we help them?

There is no denying the fact that social media has pervaded our lives significantly, so much that it could be safely labelled as “the second breath”.

Its usage does not limit itself to specific age groups or even the social groups.

But rather bestows its smartness and genius unsparingly upon adults, children, adolescents, youth, and oldies alike.

Faculties of social media have genuinely pitched in to fast-track our ways of living, with its knock-on effects.

And throughout the scenario, the population which has highly been under its sway is the adolescent one.

Here, we talk over this critical issue as it still continues to rise while you go through this article.

Effects of social media on adolescents

Social media usage among adolescents has risen abruptly since the past decade.

And not really surprising, this virtual lifestyle has rendered new and disturbing patterns related to mental and physical health.

It has systematically boosted the instances of self-injury, depression, psychological issues, ruined self-esteem, suicidal tendencies, suicides, and whatnot in the young people.

This morbid behaviour is reportedly observed in the minors who are active on various social networking platforms.

They fall prey to cybervictimization, cyber-bullying and addiction.

Researches reveal that most of the cyber- victims were females, i.e., 54%, while males constituted 33% of the collected data.

How does social media trigger self- injury in adolescents?

This becomes a relevant and crucial question to ponder upon as we notice the startling statistics of minors taking up their lives.

Young generation is trailing a disheartening path by engaging in various self-injury and other morbid behaviours through, burning, cutting, or hitting oneself.

Experts on the subject clarify, however, that self-harm does not implicate a conscious intent to kill themselves.

Some major causes of adolescents resorting to self-injury due to social media are as below

 Urge for validation

Social media sites are cramped with unreal pictures of utopic lives.

They feature people boasting off their successes and profiles against countless likes and comments.

This instils in adolescents a craving for approval and validation.

 Urge for validation

It was observed that when social media profiles of youngsters were approved by others, their self-esteem as well tended to increase.

While in the other case, they were met with self-disappointment and lowered self-esteem.

This had other consequences like depression, self-sabotage, nervousness, low self-confidence, etc.

Lowered self-esteem

Self-esteem refers to the image of self of an individual where distorted or relatively low of it is quite impairing.

It can make a person overly self-conscious, touchy, anxious, depressed and unproductive in virtually every aspect of life.

Lowered self-esteem

The amount of time spent online is detrimental to self-esteem of adolescents, especially who are inclined to engage in unhealthy comparisons.

A widely accepted Sociometer theory proposes that self-esteem fluctuations are also accompanied by instable moods and emotions.


Cyberbullying, simply put, refers to a hostile and deliberate act perpetrated through the internet against someone who cannot defend himself.


When compared to in-person mode of bullying, cyberbullying has been found to gravely augment the risks of self-injury or even suicides.

The victims are more likely to confront substance abuse, behavioural issues, intense depression, mental and physical distress, excessive trauma, and so on.

Inferiority Complex

Majority of the adolescent population using social media is gullible enough to be tricked into believing everything they see.

While most content out there paints a polished, shiny scenarios of happy and perfect life, these naïve netizens possibly develop a considerable sense of inferiority.

Inferiority Complex

And thus, they lose confidence in themselves as well as their self-worth.

Such individuals are highly susceptible to practice harm against their own selves.

Inferiority complex due to social media is a lethal thing that ought to be discussed and addressed systematically.

Worshipping the “ideal body image”

Social media has a relentless sway over public perceptions, mindsets, good, bad, likings, disliking, and so on.

It plays a role in internalizing of ideal body image among its users which is in no way an insignificant issue as it encourages body shaming, bullying, low self-worth, etc.

Worshipping the “ideal body image”

Studies conducted in the regard exposed that, adolescent girls especially, bred serious concerns of body image.

They were mostly observed to be dissatisfied with their appearances and looks, which is further associated as detrimental for mental as well as physical health.

And self-injury rests not an impossible outcome of such a lacking-in-me feelings.

Also read: UTI Symptoms and Condoms: Myth Busted

How can we help affected adolescents involved in self- injury?

Self- injury is an intense consequence of addiction and other related self-esteem issues encouraged by social media usages.

This public health condition, fortunately, inflicting the adolescents is manageable.

There are different and effective ways in which such youngsters can be assisted

Developing hobbies

Encouraging minors to adopt their interests and hobbies is indeed a sound method to get shot of this dangerous behaviour.

Developing hobbies

This would be helpful as it promises to channelize their energy into another productive arena.

Seeking professional help

One might go for professional help to curb self-injury and other related behavioural issues.

Seeking professional help

A good psychiatrist is likely to understand the weak points and frailties of the affected person.

Thence, an effective treatment plan shall be designed to rid the condition.

Supportive peers and family

A considerate family, particularly parents and peers, can show an optimistic and sympathetic attitude.

Supportive peers and family

This might be influential to balance youngsters and guide them while maintaining progressive mentality.

Spreading awareness related to social media

Technology has launched itself on an incessant mission to advance itself with ages and times to come.

Spreading awareness related to social media

Therefore, it is crucial to include mental health awareness and teach hale and secure online presence, in the scholastic curriculums.

This would be evidently helpful for students to maintain a healthy emotional balance.


Adolescent brain is a clear enigma that has literally confounded parents and psychiatrists.

Thence are initiated various researches and programs to unravel the folds and mysteries of a teenage brain.

The ease in accessibility to smartphones, introduction of social media, and ubiquitous internet connectivity all have contributed greatly to an abrupt increase in various health issues.

This has particularly resulted in higher admissions of adolescents into the hospitals owing to causes like: depression, suicidal attempts, and self-injury.

Nonetheless, timely identification and help can be a boon to support the affected person to escape and even prevent these conditions.

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