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

Quote of the Day: “I get spending money from helping my neighbors with their computer problems.”—Male, 14, FL

Although controversial to some, influencer marketing isn’t going away any time soon. A new survey by influencer platform Linqia revealed that 94% of marketers across many industries believe influencer marketing to be effective, despite 78% saying that determining the ROI of the approach will be one of the top challenges of 2017. The top benefits cited were creating authentic content (87%), driving engagement (77%), and driving traffic to website (56%). (Adweek)

Vine stars are finding a new home on live stream app Live.ly. The app, a spin-off from the popular video network Musical.ly, generated half a million downloads in its first week by creating a platform where broadcasters can engage with viewers and stream as long as they like—and then there’s the money. According to Musical.ly, the top 10 broadcasters on the platform have made an average of $46,000 in the span of two weeks with a monetization model that lets users make contributions during streams. (Business Insider)

Self magazine is leaving print behind, and going all-digital. The publication has announced that February’s issue will be their last print production, and their new strategy will make them “uniquely positioned to give consumers more of what they love while creating innovative and engaging opportunities for our advertising partners.” The all-digital tactic is a first for a major Condé Nast magazine, and reflects the decreasing interest in print in the digital media era. (The Wall Street Journal)

Teens and kids are embracing tech even more than Millennials. A new Quizlet survey found that U.S. students 16-years-old and younger are 28% more likely than Millennials to say that technology helps them learn faster than traditional tools like worksheets and lectures. Their teachers were even more open to tech: they were 32% more likely than students to say learning tech is good use of classroom time, and 20% more likely to say devices make learning fun. (CNET)

Retirement may be on the outs. According to a Merrill Edge survey, 83% of “mass affluent” 18-34-year-olds say they will still work after they “retire,” “either for income, to keep busy, or to pursue a passion.” Getting to retirement will be a struggle in itself: Half of 18-24-year-olds and 24% of 24-34-year-olds say they will need a side job to reach their retirement savings goal, which three in four believe will be $1 million. (CNNMoney

Quote of the Day: “My favorite thing to do to have fun is stay at home and invite friends over.”—Male, 32, VA

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