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The Impact of Social Media Platforms on Self-Injurious Behavior in Adolescents

Polskaya N.A., Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, polskayana@yandex.ru
Yakubovskaya D.K., student, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, darrafy@gmail.com
Abstract
The paper provides a review of studies on non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) in online social networking. Content characteristics of online self-injury narrative are examined by focusing on such categories as hashtags, images, and comments. Negative and positive aspects of social networks’ impact on the risk of self-injury in adolescent are summarized. The presence of NSSI content online and the ability to communicate on issues relating to self-injury can either improve psychological well-being of the users by increasing their mood and self-acceptance, giving means to receive support from others and get information on mental health resources, or increase the person’s susceptibility to self-injuries by initiating their interest in this subject and reinforcing, and encouraging repeated self-harm. Therefore, mental health professionals are facing a global challenge: to create supportive and helpful online content, which implies the development of a new methodology, including language and terminology, that could integrate existing online discourse on self-injury and transform it from within.

Keywords: self-injurious behavior, the Internet, social media, mental health, virtual identity, adolescence, youth

Column: Social media and mental health of the younger generation

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17759/cpp.2019270310

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