Online Social Media & Teen Suicide

Topics: Suicide, Facebook, Parasuicide Pages: 6 (1826 words) Published: August 23, 2013
Influence of online social media, contributing to the recent increase in teen suicide. Previous and current research and statistics have shown that the rate of youth suicide, both in Australia and internationally, has increased a significant amount since 2009 and unfortunately only continues to rise (National Institute of Mental Health, 2013). This research project is designed at exploring the ways in which social media is involved and how it is has been able to influence and contribute to the increasing rates of youth suicide within the last two years. The research will be focusing on two major concepts which will analyse what forms of online social media (and social networking) contribute to youth suicide, as well as, identifying if there are mental health issues that youth begin to develop or experience due to online harassment and victimisation.

In Australia over the past four years, the average total of deaths by suicide for each year is approximately 2, 300. In addition, youth suicide accounted for 25% of deaths recorded in 2011 ranging between the ages of 14-24 for both males and females (Carr, 2009). As well as this, there is great research which displays not only the increasing rate of youth suicide, but the growth in suicide attempts and ideation. Throughout recent years, the growing awareness of suicide and the internet have become greatly connected and dangerously influential. Many recent studies are now finding that forms of social media and social networking are playing a large contribution within almost every teenager’s personal life. A survey found that individuals at risk of suicide who went online pursuing suicide related purposes, in comparison to online users who did not, reported greater symptoms displaying suicidal thoughts and ideation and were unlikely to seek outside help or support (Harris, McLean & Sheffield, 2009). The subsequent research proposal will describe the aim and methodology of this study, include a brief literature review and address the ethical issues and implications that may arise while conducting this research.

Aims and Objectives
It has been strongly recognised that the rate of youth suicide has greatly and ominously increased within roughly the past four years, and social media seems to play a powerful role. The aim of this research is to explore and understand the link between social media and teen suicide within recent years, whilst also identifying which forms of social media and social networking are frequently reoccurring and what is their connection. A Brief Overview of the Relevant Literature in this Field

Youth suicide is the deliberate ending of one’s life under the age of 24. In Australia, suicide is second to motor car accidents, and third in the U.S, as the leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 12-24 (National Institute of Mental Health). Over the past five years, recurring use of social networking sites and a variety of social media had greatly increased in popularity within youth aged 12-20 years of age. Alongside this, a drastic surge of events concerning cyber bullying increased rapidly within Australia and internationally. Many cases have been recorded involving issues of self-harm, suicide attempts and fatal suicides committed by teens from countries ranging from the U.K, Canada, India, the U.S and Australia (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). The National Risk Behaviour Survey (2012) conducted a study which revealed that the number of attempted suicides among teens had increased from 6.3% in 2009 to 7.9% in 2011. In addition to these statistics, 157,000 teens are hospitalised for self-inflicted harm and 13% had admitted to creating a suicide plan.

Cyber bullying, also referred to as internet bullying, is defined as the deliberate manner to harm, humiliate and cause emotional distress and this is typically common within youth. It has been found that three prominent, reoccurring social networking sites have...
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