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 can’t live without my smartphone. It's my navigation system, entertainment, knowledge device, and many other things.” –Female, 25, IL

Blue and black, or white and gold? Never has such a simple question gone so viral. If you haven’t yet heard of #TheDress, a picture of the controversial frock was posted on Tumblr yesterday afternoon by a user who wanted others to weigh in on what colors it is. Since then, it has caused the internet to go up in flames, and millions have passionately banded behind one of two sides, some see blue and black while some see white and gold. In less than 12 hours, the BuzzFeed article asking “What Colors Are This Dress?” received 25 million views. As we’ve said before, young social media users are culture creators, their collective social power can make the mundane into a trend—they’re certainly doing that and more with The Dress. (New York TimesWired)

The Millennial nostalgia series reboots don’t stop coming: Netflix is now bringing back Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse. The site will be streaming five new kids’ shows in an effort to reach more young viewers, and the inclusion of these already-loved characters could potentially please their parents as well. Inspector Gadget, which originally aired from 1983 to 1986 and got a movie in 1999, will have 26 new computer animated episodes premiering exclusively on Netflix in March. Netflix has already announced reboots of Magic School BusCare Bears, and Popples, and hopes that the nostalgic content will lead to “co-viewing” and garner them fans from multiple generations. (Stream DailyUSA Today)

Shake Shack is amassing Millennial fans. The beloved New York-based fast casual burger establishment already epitomizes much of what young consumers are looking for in dining—fast casual, a modern look, friendly staff, and natural ingredients—and it’s gaining even more of a following thanks to a very strong social media game. Above having creative and well done ‘foodtography,’ the brand is constantly engaging with followers, reposting content, responding to their comments, and running contests like “Burger Beats,” which invites musicians to submit their music for a chance to have it played at Shake Shack locations around the world. (Digiday)

Telltale Games, the studio that created the popular The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones video games, has its own series in the making. Telltale is known for their TV-like “episodic” game design, and their first foray into original content will reportedly be a “super show,” described as a video game, TV show hybrid. Each episode will include a scripted portion as well as an interactive piece that is integrated with the show’s narrative. Telltale’s CEO calls the project "a very natural evolution of the interactive storytelling expertise we've pioneered." This unique style of entertainment could be on the rise, and film company Lionsgate has made “a significant investment” in the studio. (The Verge)

Target’s had somewhat of a tough 2015 so far, between backlash for body shaming and closing its Canadian stores, and they’re making some proactive moves to increase their appeal to young consumers. The chain will be upping spending on digital marketing efforts, and is “getting ready to reinvent its food offerings.” Food, health, and social responsibility remain important to younger consumers, so emphasizing efforts to expand their natural and organic products is likely a smart move. Target is also adding more brands that appeal to Millennials to their Made to Matter collection, including Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, KIND, and Ben & Jerry’s. (MediaPost)

Looking for a quick Millennial stat to get you up to speed before a strategy session? Searching Ypulse is the best place to start! Silver and Gold members have access to 10,000+ articles, 20,000+ curated Millennial news items, 2 billion peer-generated opinions from our mobile, social Q&A network, and thousands of statistics on Millennials drawn from our bi-weekly national survey of the generation. You search can begin and end with us. (Ypulse)

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