If you think that time spent on social media doesn’t carry negative consequences, think again.
One study into suicides brings that question into sharp focus.
The study points to a real connection between social media and suicide.
A quarter of teenage suicides in the United Kingdom involve the internet, an official inquiry has determined, The Telegraph reports.
University of Manchester Professor Louis Appleby heads England’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy and the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness. He studied almost 600 suicides committed by young people, and found that 128 had used the internet for something related to suicide, including searching for suicide methods, making suicidal posts on social media, and being bullied online.
…Teenage suicides rose by 67 percent in England and Wales between 2010 and 2017. Appleby notes that although suicide and self-harm are often driven by financial and emotional deprivation, social media does normalize these acts as being the “next step if you get into difficulties,” and “It becomes something that transmits across the subculture of young people, it becomes part of how they talk about their lives, how they talk about stress and how they expect to respond when stresses occur.”
This is driven home by the tragic personal story of Molly Russel, whose father puts lays blame directly at the feet of social media.
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, admits the moment Ian Russell blamed his company for contributing to the suicide of his teenage daughter Molly was “overwhelming.”
“It’s the kind of thing that hits you in the chest and sticks with you,” says the tech chief who has spent more than a decade at Facebook and now Instagram.
“I focused a lot on safety issues and integrity issues and well being issues at Instagram and before at Facebook.
“They are issues I have always taken very seriously but it becomes so much more real so much more intense when you have the story of an individual particularly if something tragic has happened.”
She was only 14 years old.
Instagram has announced that it will ban all graphic self-harm images as part of a series of changes made in response to the death of British teenager Molly Russell.
The photo-sharing platform made the decision – which critics said was necessary but long overdue – in response to a tide of public anger over the suicide of the 14-year-old girl, whose Instagram account contained distressing material about depression and suicide.
After days of growing pressure on Instagram culminated in a meeting with health secretary Matt Hancock, the social network’s head Adam Mosseri admitted that the company had not done enough and said that explicit imagery of self-harm would no longer be allowed on the site.
“We are not where we need to be on self-harm and suicide, and we need to do more to protect the most vulnerable,” Mosseri said. “We will get better and we are committed to finding and removing this content at scale.”
Finding closure may be easier for her parents if they could at least know more about her struggles in final days on Earth.
The parents of Molly Russell have been unsuccessful in their attempts to access her social media data, which they believe will help them to understand her suicide.
The 14-year-old’s father has claimed that her use of Instagram was a factor in her taking her own life. Source: BBC
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