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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The Newsfeed

“The wedding trend I have noticed is the white wedding dress being phased out and an array of colors and styles being used.”

—Female, 32, FL

Millennials are about to receive “one of the largest intergenerational wealth transfers in history,” according to UBS. This comes right as they reach peak earning age, making Millennials a powerful spending force—so how can Wall Street pull their purse strings? Besides transparent business practices, they’re expecting on-demand everything across all channels. Easily-navigable banking apps and mobile-first financial advice services are must-haves to impress them. (Business Insider)

Today’s teens are having safer sex, according to a CDC report. Not only are fewer teens having sex, but those that are, are more likely to be using contraceptive methods. Compared to 1988, 9% fewer 15-19-year-old females and 16% fewer males have had sex. The teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. also hit a historic low, with 99.4% of female teens who have had sex using contraception at least once, compared to 97.7% in 2002. (CBS)

Most young consumers use ad blockers, but they don’t always mind seeing ads online—as long as their “space” is respected. Defy Media and TMI Strategy found that 13-25-year-olds were open to seeing ads that are contextually relevant and informative, and don’t interrupt their experience. Anything that “clogs their feed” is off the table, but they’re not averse to all ad placements: 78% don’t consider product placement offensive, 62% follow at least one branded account, and 44% are subscribed to a branded newsletter. (Adweek)

The future of Facebook is going to be a bit more private. Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that the platform’s new mission is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” Connecting with friends and family will come back to the forefront, with Groups as a “lynchpin” of this “next era” to make smaller communities and more closed-circle communication a focus, instead of the cluttered public feed. (NYMag)

Japan’s Millennials would stay at one company for life, defying the job-hopping stereotype in favor of job security. From 2001-2015, the percentage of Japan’s Millennials who supported lifelong employment and one-company careers skyrocketed from 64% and 40% to 87% and 55%, respectively. In fact, last year, less than 7% of 25-34-year-olds switched jobs at all. Overall, Japanese employees leave jobs at less than half the rate of Americans, and younger Japanese workers are “even more risk averse.” (Bloomberg)

“I love reality TV shows. It's always fun to watch average people make themselves look foolish just for a shot at fame.”

—Female, 17, CA

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