EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – A new study shows a large number of teenagers are posting mean things about themselves online.
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire researchers are calling it digital self-harm.
Criminal justice professor Justin Patchin says in a first of its kind study he and a fellow researcher found out of 5,700 middle and high school students surveyed nationally around six-percent admitted to participating in digital self-harm.
“Basically digital self-harm is when somebody post something hurtful online about themselves,” he explains.
Patchin says boys are more likely to participate in digital self-harm than girls but he says that girl’s motives for engaging in the behavior is often an indicator of deeper rooted issues and that it can often relate to forms of physical self-harm.
“What we saw in the data are the boys were more likely to say it was a joke or it wasn’t that big of a deal where the girls were more likely to say the reason was more serious like depression or self-hate or looking to get a response from their friends kind of things,” Patchin says.