What You Need to Know About Digital Self-Harm

A disturbing new phenomenon has made itself known – digital self-harm. Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja, scholars and co-directors of the Cyberbullying Research Center, describe digital self-harm as the “anonymous online posting, sending or otherwise sharing of hurtful content about oneself.” Students who participate in digital self-harm create content that makes it look like they are being abused. They do this to gain sympathy from their friends. Students create “ghost” accounts to send hateful content to their real account. They’ll also look for hateful comments directed towards themselves. In a 2018, 21 percent of teenagers had “done this to some degree” says Elizabeth Englander, a researcher and psychologist from Bridgewater State University. The consequences of digital self harm can be devastating – some students that participate have ended their own lives.

The Solution – Keyword Detection

At Netsweeper, we’ve developed in-line keyword detection capabilities to save students’ lives. Because of in-line keyword detection, you’ll have the ability to detect and address critical student behavior. All you have to do is select a keyword that you want to detect (for example, Momo). As a result, you will receive an alert whether a student uses the keyword in a search, mentions it in an online forum, or posts comments about it on social media. Recent research into the string of online suicide games that have taken over the media (Slenderman, Momo, and Blue Whale) rename.shows that students at risk of self-harm are drawn to forums and social media. Furthermore, troubled students are drawn to websites that contain self-harm related content. It’s crucial to not only filter URLs but scan the entire web page because these are the places that troubled students frequent online.

Therefore, it’s important that parents and teachers are aware of what their students are doing online. The statistics for suicide are alarming. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-24. Four out of five students who attempt suicide give clear warning signs. Look for the warning signs that can be found online.