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: “My aspiration is to retire early and travel!” –Male, 27, CA

They’re putting off marriage and they’re moving back in with mom and dad—and we’re not just talking about Millennials. While younger consumers are becoming “boomerang kids” at higher rates, more Gen Xers and adults at all age levels are living at home than they did 30 years ago. The share of adults who have never been married, while highest for Millennials, has also “swelled” for almost all age groups. (CityLab)

Burger King’s Peace Day partnership offer to McDonald’s was brusquely dismissed, but plenty of other burger chains are willing to play. The pop-up Peace Day shop to raise money for UNICEF will now be created with smaller brands like Denny’s, Wayback Burgers, Krystal, and Giraffas, all of whom reached out to Burger King on social media to announce their eagerness to collaborate. We think young consumers like when brandsPlay Nice with one another, so despite criticism, the campaign is hardly a failure. (AdAge)

Would you ever book a flight if you didn’t know the destination? While your answer might be a strong “NO,” several airlines are using “blind bookings” to “generate some excitement and capitalize on the spontaneity and sense of adventure among younger travelers.” The surprise destination tickets are cheaper, and some brands allow participating customers to pick their dates and interests (partying, culture, shopping, cities, etc.) before choosing their endpoint for them. (WSJ)

The 2015 SAT must have been a doozy of a test. Scores were down seven points from the previous year, their lowest since 2005 when the test was last reworked. The number of students who are considered “prepared” for college is down 16% among black students and 23% among Hispanic students. One factor in the drops is the fact that more students are taking the test than ever before, but high school math and reading skills may be an issue. (The Daily Beast)

While more brands amp up their digital efforts, experiential marketing may be more important than ever to appeal to young consumers, who are looking for unique activities they can talk about on social. Adult Swim’s pop-up drive-in theatre is certainly giving them a sharable moment. The brand is touring the country to give fans 18 and older outdoor screenings of unaired episodes, along with free food truck treats, trivia, and prizes. (Adweek)

Quote of the Day: “A major life milestone that happened this year was that I met my idol, Taylor Swift.” –Female, 22, CA

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