Young women are self-harming more, according to new data. As The Washington Post shares, emergency room visits for girls 10 to 14 has risen since 2008. It is not clear what is causing the self-harm rates to go up but some experts point to smartphones and cyber bullying as the culprits.
Most of the girls and women who were admitted to emergency rooms came for ingesting pills or poisons. Some were treated for injuring themselves with sharp objects, such as cutting. According to the new data, the number of girls ages 10 to 24 admitted to emergency rooms for nonfatal self-inflicted injuries grew by 8.4 percent annually from 2009 to 2015.
Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, points to the importance of smartphones in the lives of this generation compared to those of the past. Teens in every generation have experienced mental-health problems, she said. Genetic predisposition, family environments, bullying and trauma have all existed prior. Smartphones, which are different to this generation specifically, can be both isolating and heighten issues like bullying. “But some vulnerable teens who would otherwise not have had mental-health issues may have slipped into depression because of too much screen time, not enough face-to-face social interaction, inadequate sleep or a combination of all three,” she wrote.
The notion that smartphones have destroyed a generation is becoming more common. Some parents are instilling a device-free dinner, essentially mealtime when children are not allowed to be on their phones, as a way to counter this.