The Social Network of Self-Harm

Amidst the call-to-action for issues such as bullying, texting and driving, and substance abuse among teens lies an issue that remains hidden in social network feeds and under sweatshirt sleeves: self-harm. In a group of ten teens, at least one is self-harming, whether through eating disorders or physical injury. We know what these behaviors look like—cutting, starving, purging, criticizing—but more than one-fourth of young adults consciously avoid talking about these subjects and one in six parents of teens admit to avoiding the topic of mental illness. Though teens and parents share age-old experiences of adolescent angst, previous generations were without the constant barrage of images from the internet of physical (albeit Photoshopped) perfection, pro-ana websites, and self-injury how-to forums. The dark side of the internet promotes these activities and sets a grave stage for Millennials to escape from external pressures.
 
Millennial author Anna Caltabiano’s dystopian novel All That Is Red has gained recognition for giving a voice to self-harming teens and a glimpse at how for some “the intimate euphoria of pain can sometimes be all we have to remind us that we are alive.” The book is not meant to be autobiographical, but the adventure story integrates the topics of self-harm and isolation through the trials of its young female heroine. In writing All That Is Red, Anna set out to battle the stigma surrounding self-harm, an issue that is “always there, not just in the United States, but all over the world and we as a society still feel like it isn’t acceptable to discuss it.”

Caltabiano describes self-harm as “inflicting pain on yourself just to concentrate on this one thing you can control,” both feeding and numbing the isolation that teens feel in an increasingly fragmented…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I think when I'm a parent my top concern in raising a child will be, in general, just not screwing them up." –Female, 14, MA

It is becoming common practice for busy Millennials to skip breakfast, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like breakfast food. In fact, this generation is more likely than others to eat breakfast at times other than traditional morning hours, and 16% are pushing back their mealtime to use breakfast as an afternoon snack. Their adventurous food preferences are influencing the “premiumization” of breakfast items, but since we know that the majority of Millennials enjoy cooking, there is also opportunity in "speed-scratch" products for the 65% who prefer to make breakfast foods from scratch. (MediaPost)

In the past three years, Lego has seen its consumer base change from 90% boys to 40% girls, thanks in part to its Lego Friends collection of girl-targeted construction sets. Activity kits like Rainbow Loom and GoldieBlox, along with licensed Frozenmerchandise, have helped drive the surge in sales for girls toy divisions, whereas action figure movies have begun to cannibalize each other in the boys toy aisle. (Kidscreen)

In the Age of Not Believing, images online and in magazines are almost assumed to be manipulated, but one Millennial is speaking out in support of imperfection. The fashion blogger behind the site Do The Hot Pants posted a reveal of images before and after Photoshop, admitting that she posted edited images to her site that decreased the size of her stomach, legs, and smoothed her skin. While she lifted the veil on her use of Photoshop and is advocating for better body image perceptions, her transparency might make some even more skeptical of what they see on user-created blogs. (BuzzFeed)

The #IceBucketChallenge for ALS is still going strong with participation from celebrities continuing to snowball, but no one’s nomination has seen as much viral traction as Bill Gates’ video. The tech genius decided to step it up a notch with a specially designed ice bucket contraption, and his behind-the-scenes take has seen over 8 million views in the past four days. (YouTube)

The social media landscape has seen a number of standalone apps fail, often due to resistance from users to migrate themselves and all of their friends to another platform. Instead of creating another Snapchat look-a-like, new app Camoji is using iMessage to send GIF selfies. The short video selfies send and loop seamlessly within iMessage, elevating the selfie into animated expressions that can also be shared as a URL link to non-iPhone users. (Mashable)

Quote of the Day: "I haven’t had children yet because I have a lot to accomplish—academics, career goals, travel destinations—before I settle down and look to someone else's interests.” –Female, 25, PA

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