Self-harm online and offline
At the start of the twenty-first century, media reports began to emerge about the dangers posed to children by the internet
including the danger of peer-to-peer victimisation. In 2007, the UK government commissioned Childnet International, a charity dedicated to protecting children online,
to produce guidance to help schools deal with the issue of cyberbullying
Childnet International consulted with school leaders and parents to develop an understanding of the issue and its ensuing report formed part of the UK Government’s
Safe to Learn Guidance for schools on bullying.
Seven years later, Childnet International reported on a disturbing new development
: citing figures from the National Health Service (NHS), Childnet UK claimed that
the number of children aged between 10 and 14 treated in hospital after deliberately hurting themselves has risen by more than 2,700 since 2012
Childnet went on to state that in 2014 the London School of Economics’ report, Net Children Go Mobile, showed a significant increase in young people being
exposed to potentially negative forms of user-generated content online, including self-harm websites.
Given the serious nature of self-harm and the possibility that children are encouraged to self-harm by viewing content online,
we might expect education policy on self-harm to be developed imminently
, perhaps in consultation with organisations such as Childnet and the LSE.
It is likely that school leaders will be consulted as part of this policy development (see http://www.childnet.com/teachers-and-professionals