Online Social Media & Teen Suicide Essay Example

Online Social Media & Teen Suicide Essay Introduction

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.

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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 been discovered when involved with youth who experience suicidal behaviour and potentially attempt suicide due to experiencing cyber bullying.These sites include Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, all of which are easily accessible, include the option of anonymity and can display a lot of personal information. In recent years, a series of online bullying-related suicides across the globe have brought awareness to the connection between online bullying and suicide. A study conducted in Britain established that approximately half of suicides among youth are related to online bullying through social media networks and 23% of teens aged 12-15 had been bullied via Facebook or email.There are two key relevant studies that will be analysed within this literature review are as follows; a 2011 clinical report, ‘The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families’ and a 2011 study, ‘Bullying and Suicide’. This literature review will evaluate and compare both studies, and discuss how this information could contribute to gaining further understanding of the research subject regarding the issue of online social media being an influential factor in recent teen suicide.The clinical report ‘The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families’ written by O’Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson (2011) was to discuss the potential negative issues and risks of online social networking, predominantly looking at the impacts on ‘tweens’ (11-12 years of age) and teens (13-18 years of age). This report outlined largely significant concerns of online social media such as cyber bullying, sexting (sexually explicit messages and/or photographs via text messaging), online harassment and issues of privacy and personal information.The report presented statistics showing that 25% of teenagers accessed their favoured social networking sites and blogs more than 10 times a day and that 76% of teenagers owned a mobile phone which granted internet access. The report discussed studies which explored common risks and dangers of social networking, which additionally concluded such things like the regularity of cyber bullying and the profound psychological outcomes. These outcomes were depression, anxiety, severe individual isolation, and suicide (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010).To gather this information, O’Keeffe & Clarke Pearson (2011), included a number of different material such as collected data and statistics recorded from previously completed surveys and questionnaires, academic journals and publishing, media articles and so forth. The research that is analysed and discussed in this proposal is both quantitative and qualitative as it involves data recorded from surveys and collected statistics. However, it also explores qualitative elements as it is not written based on retained statistical and numerical information as it takes into account of observations, questionnaire responses, social input and nterpreted facts. The was concluded that due to the gathered information and data (both previous and current), teens that frequently use social networking sites and/or blogs are highly vulnerable to endure some form of online harassment and depending on the severity, could possibly trigger the psychological outcomes that were previously described (depression, anxiety etc). ‘Bullying and Suicide’ is a research article published by Psychiatric Times and written by Klomek, Sourander and Gould (2011).The article describes online bullying as a universal public health issue, particularly in the Western society and in light of recent years, a distinctive link between online social media and teen suicide has definitely emerged. The article explains that findings from most studies that have been analysed surrounding this issue have been cross sectional studies, and indicate that online bullying/harassing behaviour in youth is greatly associated with depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.Due to the results and statistics concluded from these studies, this behaviour was found in primary and high school students but numbers increased when specifically looking at students in grades 8 to 10. Furthermore, it was established that victims of online bullying display much greater symptoms of depression and have higher levels of suicidal ideation, additionally leading to increased likeliness of attempting suicide.This article determined that adolescent bullying continues to be recognised as a major public health concern, and in recent years now seems to be increasingly involved with suicide and other mental health issues. In current times, online bullying has been found to be executed in many ways and through several different social networking sites eg: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Correspondingly, studies showed that girls being bullied and hassled via the internet (e-mails, blogs, social sites etc) –infrequently or frequently- were greatly associated with feeling depressed and experiencing suicidal ideation.On the other hand, studies concluded that boys experiencing frequent online bullying victimisation were associated with feeling depressed, and both frequent and infrequent levels of online victimisation were suffering suicidal ideation and contemplation. When conducting this research on a topic involving mental health and suicide, it is difficult to determine the accuracy of the results from. This is for the reason that some individuals and students may already experience and currently live with mental illness and perhaps have experienced suicidal ideation which then increased due to online bullying/harassment.From comparing the two research studies, it is evident that the easy accessibility, varies forms of online identity and anonymity and access of personal and private information, certainly contributes to the emotions and behaviour of individuals who are victimised via the internet. Methodology Participants: Young adolescents between the ages of 12-20. Approximately 40 people, 20 of those male and 20 female. Materials: A letter asking for parental permission for those who are under the age of 16, and a survey for all consenting participants to anonymously complete.Procedure: 20 consenting females and 20 consenting males ranging from the ages of 12-20 years old will be requested to participate in anonymously completing a survey answering questions about their online usage, popular social networking sites and if they have experienced cyber bullying. Once the 40 surveys have been finalised, they will be collected and evaluated. Ethical Issues The ethical issues that surround this would include the fact that some of the required participants are under the age of 16 and parental consent is obligated for their participation (Spriggs, 2004).Confidentiality is also another aspect of ethical responsibility (Nelson-Jones, 2005). Each participant will be granted anonymity, and those who are underage, their parents will be presented with a confidentiality agreement which cover the results of the survey and certify anonymity. Contribution of the Proposed Study to the Field The contribution of this research is proposed to raise awareness to the importance, danger and seriousness of the potential risks online social networking has, and the influencing power of social media. Project TimelineThe estimated timeline for this research to be is 12 months. This takes into account 1 month to compose the research proposal, 1 month to prepare the survey, 1- 2 months to analysis and review the survey, 1 month for sending the letters of consent, as well as receive a response, and to distribute the survey accordingly. Collecting all completed surveys from participants will take roughly 2 months and another 3 months to examine the data and assess the results. Finally, the remaining 2 months will be for writing and revising the research paper.

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Online Social Media & Teen Suicide Essay Example
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