“I have no doubt that social media helped kill my daughter.”- confessed Ian Russal who has become a campaigner against social media harm since his 14-year-old daughter Molly committed suicide in 2017.
This is just one of the cases that highlights the social media’s association with the dramatic increase in the last decade in self-harm among young people. Unfortunately, we cannot be sure whether there is a casual link between the two as the researchers have no access to the data of the social media platforms. That is the reason why many organizations, for example the Royal College of Psychiatrists – which represents the UK’s 18,000 psychiatrists – claims that the government should make social media platforms share their data with academics.
"Self regulation is not working" – said Dr. Bernadka Dubicka, chair of the college’s child and adolescent mental health faculty, therefore tech giants should take responsibility for what’s posted on their platforms.
The internet has a lot of benefits but it can also promote self-harm, suicide and eating disorders. In order to fight with the negative impact of online social platforms, it is critical to expand our understanding and promote healthy online experiences.