Recent studies have shown huge increases in the number of children that are viewing images of self-harm, with 60% of 11-14 year old kids having been exposed to such images. These numbers are shocking, as it has been proven that at least 50% of children that have seen self-harm images go on to harm themselves in some way. The study has also shown that 80% of 18-21 year old people in the UK have either harmed themselves or know someone who has, usually a close friend.
This study was carried out by ChildLine, YouthNet, YoungMinds and selfharmUK, as part of a campaign to raise awareness of this issue ahead of Self Harm Awareness Day, which takes place on the 1st of March.
A government spokesperson responded to these findings by stating that they take the issue of the online safety of children extremely seriously, and are currently investing £150million to help young people that not only self-harm, but who also have eating disorders. These two are often related in many cases.
The four main internet service providers within the UK all currently offer parents the option to put restrictions on the content that their children are able to view online, and are committed to continue to promote this service. There are also going to be many initiatives put in place to help to empower young people, so that not only are they able to stay safe online, but they will also develop the confidence and skills needed to overcome any issues that would have otherwise led to self-harm.