Online Self Harm

Before taking this class I learned about what trolling was from a friend. After googling the definition that same which was “make a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.” I realized I had witnessed this often. I have seen numerous times where people will insult others online. I have always attributed this to a false confidence of being behind the computer. One can make up a pseudonym and feel as though they can say anything to anyone. This has always made me feel like the social media platforms are like a playground full of bullies. I knew I had watched a CNN video about how social media platforms are trying to prevent people from trolling.

When I began reading the article Why Teenagers are ‘Self-Trolling’ on websites like Reddit by Tanith Carey. It was incredible surprising to me. I couldn’t put it down. My first thought was, why would anyone want to be roasted? How is this helping anyone? Once I continued reading and Carey compared self-trolling to self harm. It is a public way for teens to show they are hurting without saying it themselves. It always surprising me they way teens will try to communicate. It is very inventive. So as a teacher with this new knowledge what do I do about it?

If I come across a student online that is being trolled or has placed a picture in hopes that they will be roasted, what is my duty as a teacher to do? Is that something I ignore and pretend I didn’t see it? Personally that is something I would have a hard time doing. I would probably advocate to have the student speak with a councilor. I’m not sure what the answer would be to a problem like this. Any ideas?

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7 Responses to Online Self Harm

  1. thiessendallas says:

    I would take it to admin who would follow up with the student, the parents and other agencies who might be of help (e.g school councellor, school psychologist, etc)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have similar questions as you. Why would people want to be involved with this? It is unfortunate this is happening to one of your students. It sounds like they need a bit of support.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think your duty as a teacher is to begin a conversation with the student, and perhaps with all your students- to be proactive in this fight against bullying and self-harming. I also don’t think this conversation is ever easy, but I don’t think you became a teacher because you thought it would be “easy”.


  4. mskbrodner says:

    I completely agree that the conversation needs to be addressed with all students. I question whether I have enough knowledge to be the best person to have to conversation with the youth who is self harming. I feel conversations with that particular student would be more beneficial from a person with that has a professional background like a councilor. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that I fair. We cannot deny a student the right to and need of professional help in those situations. I also think that they can work simultaneously with another person in the trusted position, as long as the student understands that not all matter discussed with you will be completely confidential, as you would also have a responsibility to discuss any disturbing news/trends with the professional(s) involved. But don’t ever feel like you have to take the lead in difficult conversations like that. Teachers have a right to support, and you shouldn’t be losing sleep over any situation with a student.


  5. mskbrodner says:

    I love that you said teachers have a right to support. If something like this were to happen I know I would have support from my school team. I do think it is much easier said than done about the not losing sleep over it. There have been many times in my teaching career (4 years) where I have stayed up at night because of a situation at work. I think this is an inevitable part of the career I choose.

    Liked by 1 person

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