Non-Suicidal Self Injury and Social Media
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Non-Suicidal Self Injury and Social Media

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Non-Suicidal Self Injury and Social Media

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Non-Suicidal Self Injury and Social Media

Kealagh Robinson & A/Prof Marc Wilson


Social Media Usage among Teenagers

95% of all teenagers are online

81% use some kind of social media

A third of teenagers exchange messages daily on social network sites


Function of the Internet

Identity and Connection:

Online communication creates place for personal bonding and anonymous disclosure.





& Fitzsimons, 2002)

Teenagers who self-injure say that online they

- Obtain support

- Express themselves freely

- Feel safe to do so due to anonymity and privacy.

(Murray & Fox, 2006).


Engaging Online: Photographic Sites

(Baker & Lewis, 2013)

Positive Perspective:

Show bad it can get

Creates a place of support

Looking at the photos can reduce the impulse


these pictures gives

me a release and sense of calm: it

curbs my urges to cut. Also, knowing

that I’m not alone in this is



Engaging Online: Photographic Sites

(Baker & Lewis, 2013)



Social irresponsible

Triggers viewers


a competitionNormalises self injuryGlamorises self injury


It seems as though people are

trying to

make art out of it and

deepening a

connection with it.. . . Aren’t

you concerned

people will fall into

the romance

of it?


Engaging Online: Videos

Analyzed the most popular 50 character videos & 50 non-character videos.

80% accessible to general audiences.

Explicit representation of self-injury

- 90% of non-character videos had graphic photographs

- 28% of character videos had in-action self-injury

(Lewis, Heath, Denis & Nobel,2011)


(Lewis & Baker, 2011)

Examined the comments on the 100 most popular self-injury videos.

Global comments:

38% self-disclosed a personal history of self-injury

17% admired the message

15% admired the uploader11% offered encouragementRecovery themed comments:Very few positive comments. 43% did not mention recovery and 34% indicated that they were still self-injuring.

Reception of Videos


(Duggan, Heath, Lewis & Baxter 2012)

Informal and Professional Support Websites

Informal Websites:

Range of triggering content

Accessed more often

Often hosted by Facebook & other social media websites

Themes of hopelessness, desperation and encouragement

Professional Websites:

Don’t post graphic images

Separate NSSI and suicidality

Themes of recovery and support


Issue of Contagion

Individual differences



(Aral & Walker, 2012)

Self reports of hearing about self injury

(Hodgson, 2004)

Some evidence in certain samples


Hodgson, 2004)



[posts promoting self-harm],

as a statement against the very ideas of self-harm that they are


“Online dialogue about these acts and conditions is incredibly important; this prohibition is intended to reach only those blogs that cross the line into active promotion or glorification”

Response of Social Media