The effect of social media on teenagers and younger generations has already been defined. It can worsen depression and suicide rates. However, there may be more to that according to another study, as experts just found out that Instagram self-harm posts actually trigger the viewers to do the same thing.
The research was conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania along with two partner European institutions. According to the researcher’s findings, pictures or posts on Instagram that depict or inspire self-harm actually compel people who see them to do the same violent harm to themselves.
They conducted it with a survey involving 729 young adults from the US, aged 18 to 29. The questionnaire involved queries to the participants on whether they have been exposed to said self-harm posts. 43 percent claimed they did, and among those 59 percent claimed that it caused them emotional distress.
Alarmingly enough, among the 43 percent young adults in the survey who were exposed to self-harm posts, 32 percent of them admitted to doing the same or similar self-harm practices. That’s nearly 1/3 of all the people exposed to the said posts.
As for what constitutes self-harm, it’s usually regarded as an intentional injury to the body or body tissue without suicidal motives. Still, it can easily lead to suicidal intent, depending on the individual’s stress or psychological or mental disposition or circumstances.
“The findings suggest that whether the Instagram posts instigate self-harm on their own or not, they do reach vulnerable young people and may play a role in encouraging similar behavior in those who are exposed to them,” explained Dan Romer, senior author of the said study. It might be better to lay off on the phone for a while, spend more time under the sunshine.
You might also like: