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: “Music is an integral part of my life. A day without music is a bad day.” –Male, 16, MS

We’ve told you exactly what a day in Millennial and teen’s mobile use looks like, and now the Mary Meeker Internet trend report has even more stats on their phone addiction: 87% of 18-34-year-olds say their smartphone “never leaves [their] side, night or day.” They also think phones are the key to the future: three in five believe everything will be done on mobile devices in the next five years. (Time)

The YouTube Kids app may have high reviews, but an FTC complaint against the video platform reveals that the line between marketing and content is blurring more than some are comfortable with. Consumer groups are objecting to the (very popular) unboxing videos being included on the app. The clips, which feature kids and sometimes adults opening toys, could be interpreted as commercials for the product. (CNN Money

Oreos is getting weird to promote their new S’mores cookies to Millennials. The brand has released a series of PSA-style videos starring a mascot called S’morey The Unidentified Forest Creature and featuring “throwback ‘90s-style animations.” The spots, which will run on social media, are absurdist scenarios where S’morey puts out unusual campfires and doles out Oreos. (Adweek)

The legend of the entrepreneurial Millennial may be more hyped than factual. New data shows that while startup activity in the U.S. has increased overall, fewer 20-34-year-olds launched new businesses in 2014 than did 19 years ago. Student loan debt is likely contributing to their lack of entrepreneurship, and as we’ve said for some time, their risk-averse natures weigh heavily on their career decisions. (CNBC)

We're living in the age of the reboot, and marketers are trying to play off young consumers' nostalgia by bringing back retro campaigns and mascots. KFC was confident their revival of Colonel Sanders would capture the hearts of Millennials, and so far it looks like they may be right. According to the brand, the response has been about “80% positive” and they’re very happy that people are talking about the chain again. The Colonel was revived after it was discovered 60% of Millennials had never eaten at the chicken chain. (Business Insider)

72% of 13-32-year-olds are interested in travel. How do we know? Every month we reach out to our panel of over 60,000, asking 1,000 Millennials and teens about their behaviors, interests, current events, seasonal trends, changing attitudes, and new norms. The results of these monthly surveys are delivered to our Gold subscribers, and can be downloaded from our site. (Ypulse)

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