Tackling the Self-Messaging Issue 2017

Dr Richard Graham, a Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist from the Tavistock Clinic in London, has been working with ASKfm to help teens who sometimes use online anonymity to send themselves anonymous messages. These messages can be unkind, hurtful and sometimes hateful and bullying. Several terms, such as ‘digital self-harm and ‘self-bullying’, have been used to describe this online phenomenon. However, since these terms have not been clinically diagnosed, it is better to use a neutral definition, such as ‘self-messaging’. Moreover, we can see also positive examples of people sending messages to themselves on ASKfm, for example, when sorting out problems with friends. When young people find something new, they try to use it for good first.

As part of this work a new article by Dr Graham has now been published in ASKfm Safety Centre. It is specifically written for teens and explains that ‘self-messaging’ is not such a new phenomenon. Just consider how often we ‘talk to ourselves’ and have internal conversations when thinking about our challenges or difficulties. Dr Graham highlights: “When everything in our lives feels like it’s going out of control, we might do something we know will make things even worse. All that frustration needs somewhere to go, and when it can’t go anywhere else, we start to take it out on ourselves and can even end up hating ourselves”.

In order to support teens ASKfm will remove the hateful messages users send to themselves and will signpost users to relevant sources of support. This article is helpful not only for teens going through a difficult time, but also for parents, friends and teachers who are trying to support these teens. You can find the article here

You can follow Dr Graham on @rgraham120