It also coincided with the post-2009 financial crisis. Could be more financially unstable households. Could be a feeling if being left behind as pressure to excel academically and socially increased due to a desire to get into better schools for some financial security. I don’t know. Just throwing out other hypotheses.
Ironically, I think that generation may have been more or less right about the imagery being a negative, but wrong about the mechanism by which it works on us negatively.
Sexualized imagery does not turn boys into rapists. But it does seem to promote body image insecurity, social status worries, and general anxiety, in those who see it, particularly those of the same sex, and where the person is seen as desirable to emulate. Violence in the media, also, probably doesn't make us violent. But it may well skew how accurately we estimate the likelihood of interpersonal violence. Quite a few studies hint at a link between how terrified someone is of being murdered and how much gory TV they watch, basically.
t;ldr: instead of turning us into sex-crazed impulsives like feared, it turned us into sex-hating neurotics.
Putting female people into certain position doesn't turn them automatically into liberal challengers of the status quo, who rationally question the things they learned their whole life, certain kinds of pressure comes in the worst forms from other women (mother, grandmother, aunts, colleagues, etc).
E.g. if you are a girl in a typical family in Italy cutting your hair short, getting a tattoo, or not wearing a bra is something your relatives definitly will mention negatively to you. The only reason being that they have an idealized image of what a woman must look like to be a "propper woman". If you don't look like that they might think you are a lesbian, have psychological problems or similar silly causal connections.
I'd say the critical part wrt suicides is not that people are competing for attention from the opposite sex, because that has been around for a million years. The critical new aspect is that people are now grossly underestimating their relative standing. And that's because social media makes the one pretty outlier actress from the other side of the globe feel personal and acessible, which tricks us into treating them like a valid comparison point even though most high school girls will never need to compete against a Hollywood actress on looks, because the latter one is unavailable to all of her male classmates anyway.
Is this actually true?
Just because the hollywood access (or porn star) is unavailable doesn’t mean the male classmates are behaving that way.
Regardless of gender, the people that rise to the top tend to be sociopathic…
The insinuation that anyone who rises to the top of an organisation must be sociopathic is dillusional.
Yes, there is a higher incidence at the CEO level, traits that help you in a role also help you get there, go figure, but the idea all leaders are sociopaths is a huge stretch based off nothing but your own bias and distain for anyone high up in a power structure, that seems to be going around right now.
Citation needed, as well as a fully qualified definition of "organisation". It's not fair to equate the leader of the local farming co-op with the editorial head of a major newsgathering (or in present-times: news-aggregation) corporation.
Now take the world of a teenager, which is already small, and blast it at them 24/7 full force. Imagine the insane bullshit you see from adults on social media trying to distort reality... now imagine how extreme a child could be imitating those same adults. The big difference being we (adults) don’t then have to go spend eight hours around some crazy asshole. These kids do. It’s haunting.
Social media seems less social the long we have it. I think “petty media” would have been a better term and communicated its relative importance in our lives much better.
I assume the fear was girls would sexualize themselves because of what they saw was popular on MTV, which they believed would make them popular as well. I guess the big difference is that girls that sexualized themselves at that time never had an access to large audiences without perceived consequences like girls do on social media today.
I don't think depicting violence in video games is similar because I would say the violent aspect of games isn't the defining aspect of the content that people want to emulate. For example all the video game streamers and influencers, like girls who sexualize themselves, generally want the popularity, and the popularity is derived from being good at the games (or being the entertainer), not by being violent or emulating the violence from games, whereas the popularity of sex symbols is inherently their sexuality. It was starting with internet chat rooms, but there was really no way to broadcast your sexuality to thousands of people back then without exposing yourself to risks like doing it in the public. Social media both removed these risks by creating a physical separation between the audience and the person sexualizing themselves, and provided an audience that provides the attention that those sexualizing themselves desire. It sort of created the missing pieces for the incentive structures that reinforce the behaviors.
It isn't just sexualization too, social media has allowed many communities that were either too niche or 'undesirable' to thrive in offline communities to flourish and become normalized over time.
There's a reason that the execs at most of those social media companies don't let their kids use their own product. Something we've seen from tobacco execs in the past.
The problem with social media is that it is not a game. It's real life.
Ordinary but attractive humans curate, stage, and edit snippets of perfect lives. Bleeding edge algorithms inject these false realities into our subconscious.
My friends 16-year-old daughter posts photos from a completely different reality if you didn't know her personally.
She posts glamour shots of her and her friends doing all the silly Instagram model stuff you see, in locations like beaches, in front of Disneyland (She just took a picture in front of it, it wasn't even OPEN) etc. And somehow she always looks thin.
The reality is, her family was pretty hard hit financially by COVID-- and that she's a kinda dumpy teenager whose flunking out of High school. Literally a D and F student.
But she has 700 followers on instagram.
EDIT: I just remembered I have a friend whose a minor fitness celebrity and its the same thing with him. He posts photos of him doing all this wonderful stuff, driving an expensive car (which I know is a rental). I help him with his website sometimes and he questions me about his hosting costs (less than $200/yr) and asks if its necessary it cost that much. So he can't really have much money or glamour in his life.
The new buzzword in private school now is "resilience", which I feel like is tacit acknowledgement that kids need to deal with things sucking in the future.
Self esteem (1990 - 2000s) = denial: "I don't feel bad!"
Resilience (2010 -) = anger: "I feel bad, but I'll fight and come back stronger!"
Maybe the future pattern will be as follows:
"Solution-driven" = bargaining: "I feel bad and here's what you can do so I feel better"
"Pragmatic" = depression: "I feel bad and I should feel bad"
"Peaceful warrior" = acceptance: "I feel bad and that's normal when the world is a post-apocalyptic nightmare in 2060"
But I would posit that it is possible that constant exposure to people in your network's achievements (or appearances thereof) can elicit emotions that have negative consequences over long periods of time. I think tribal species probably have an innate function of trying to sort and rank members for various purposes, and maybe that program can get overloaded.
In my schooling experience I don't think I remember there being a correlation between household wealth and mental health issues. There were poor kids who didn't engage at all with the stress of preparing for the future and therefore had a great time in middle / high school (their suffering came later...) and many kids with richer parents who put them through grueling schooling regimens, with very high standards and conditional love, which led to lots of problems with anxiety / depression.
I think a lot of problems came from the remote schooling being really bad for time management. Kids got bad grades, felt like their lives were ruined. This is something I think is happening a lot.
I think if I had kids I wouldn’t let them on such sites until 16/17 or never. Granted, I have a strong opinion against social media before this data.
I'm not a parent yet but I dread this situation. I'm good at denying urges personally, so I'd tell them desire is a constant part of life, we can't always get what we crave. Further, I'd state actual facts about girls mental health, they will see and be exposed to unhealthy mindsets on this app.
Some good that'll do. When I have kids, it'll be "dad, why can't we join the VR orgy party? It's not real sex!"
Teens are just people with very little experience dealing with their seemingly huge amounts of emotion so parents should help them process. We can't protect them from everything so trying to just hide the bad stuff is not going to work, folks will grow up without the tools to deal with it when things go wrong.
Keeping up with what's going on and jumping in when they get stuck, either because the situation is overwhelming, they don't have the proper tools, or they're just putting too much weight on their shoulders, is super valuable.
Unfortunately, with all of the pressures of daily life, combined with the struggles of folks in lower socio-economic environments, lots of people do not have enough time or surplus emotional budget to give it the proper attention, they're just trying to survive.
In normal words it means that they have a lot of freedom and I am not particularly bitchy about that. I tell them they have to go to bed but I do not care too much if they do when on vacation. One day I will get mad and force them to do that, and they know what they did wrong and that this is the"punition". They usually come, beg a bit and I let go.
So they know that there is a lot of vagueness about the "rules" within this area, which they make use of. Also the fact that they have two parents and when they get a "no" from one, they may get a "yes" from the other (and the first one would not care)
Then come the walls. The walls are rigid and extremely strong. They know that they must not try to break them, because terrible things will happen. The most terrible thing would be a loss of trust - something they do not want. They know that we trust them and that the whole flat area above is because of that.
They also know that they can come to us with questions, to which they will always receive an answer. Some of which they will agree with, some not. There are no taboo topics (though some were complicated, when the older one asked me what a whore is (or later, what cunnillingus is) at the ripe age of 10, and the younger one (8 at that time) ran with a chair from the other room to be part of the audience...).
They also know that they can talk with us about things they will do someday - and how to do them safely. Sex is an obvious one, but also alcohol. The younger one (14) told me today that he would like to try how it feels to be drunk when he is 18. I told him that they are risks and that he must be very careful. To what he said "at home of course! with you around just in case!". I hope it will be this way but I listed the risks anyway.
Now that I think of it, we do not even exactly know what the walls are. Certainly things like theft, but they are so remote from our ethics that we do not list them.
This is a terrifyingly difficult prospect. I guess almost nobody in the world is so well equipped for that. There are really hard problems that nobody can "deal" with alone, like the death of loved ones, or social ostracism from your whole peer group. No matter how "well equipped" you are, some things may be simply overwhelming.
EDIT: I learned this the hard way. I am well off economically and emotionally, always had a cushioned life, I became the father in a happy family, really felt totally invincible. But something happened at the age of 41 (sudden death of my dad, in very bad circumstances) that I was not prepared at all to deal with. I used to mock people who couldn't cope with their own problems, but as an adult I learned that some problems may be really too big to rationalize off. I guess many teenagers find themselves in such difficult situations that cannot really solve (like being a victim of overwhelming social pressure), regardless of how loving and close their parents are.
They could do try do things behind his back, they had full window to do it but trust was so ingrained that I don't recall him ever finding out huge problems.
Which doesn't mean they wouldn't plead and beg and try to cajole to get something.
At some point he would explain the rationale behind a decision but in the the end when push came to shove if a "no" was spoken it was a final "no". He isn't forced to justify his decisions and it's accepted as is and I think somehow trust plays a part here. Because his children knows that it's not the thing to get (smartphone, movie time, etc.) that is at play but trust (edit_begin) ultimately trust and the only way to get that thing would be by breaking trust (edit_end). They have to keep their parent's trust and parents know they can only get that trust by actually trusting. So, it works out. YMMV.
Having been on both sides of this, as a teenager and having saw my siblings go through it, I don't envy you either.
But I can talk about my personal experiences. I was very introverted as a kid, and tools like Facebook gave me a bit of social autonomy and confidence, and it absolutely strengthened my in-person relationships. I know others that feel the same.
Not being contactable via the internet definitely can cause social ostracism, but a reasonable middle ground for me is something like Discord or WhatsApp, which is semi private and avoids the toxicity of The Feed.
>How would you handle it if they bought their own 2nd cellphone, and only used the cellular network to escape your control.
That's what really happens. Lock your kid down? They'll get right around it by going outside of the infrastructure and devices you supply. They'll just carry two phones around, and you just won't be wiser about the second one unless you catch them with it.
It won't work with every child... but I am a big believer in fostering the means for a child to make the right decisions for themselves. Yes, the social pressures are immense. But you know, I do remember following my dad's advice to get up a few times an hour, exercise and stretch, when playing video games. Older children worry about their health, and try to make good decisions within their abilities, just like adults do. Perhaps we can't really protect them from this per se, and can only try to help the next generation save themselves, from this mess we've made for them.
I'd like to think I was pretty mature at that age, and my parents would like to think they had done a good enough job raising me that this would never be a problem, and it never was. But we can clearly see from stories of kids spending large amounts of money in FIFA or mobile games or whatever, that this is not true for every kid.
The fact that online purchases were a slow user experience in the 90s meant that I had the concept of purchases, and paying back my parents in cash reinforced the concept of spending real money. Since I had my own savings, I could also see the impact to myself if I spent more than reasonable on Pokemon cards or whatever.
If it had just been pressing a button in a video game like it is for modern kids, and wasn't trusted to mind my own money (or that money was just numbers in a bank account), would I have realized the same at age 12? Or would my parents ended up as the ones that "should have known better". How much of that is good parenting, versus a different environment? I don't know.
I don't have kids of my own, and my life situation is such that I don't consider it a practical near term possibility, but I'd like to think I could raise my own kids so I could extend that level of trust, but a lot of people would see just the fact that the kids had that kind of information irresponsible in its entirety.
It's not like the old days when you knew they'd find a Playboy magazine eventually.
Actually, would retail stores even sell a data plan to an unaccompanied minor? You could buy a SIM online I suppose, possibly via a gift card, and watch the mail carefully to ensure the package isn't seen, but it all seems like a lot of work for a small amount of web browsing.
I’d think that in the worst case scenario, the child goes through the process once, browses the internet for a couple of days on a super crappy device, uses up their data, and realizes the whole thing wasn't really worth it. Maybe they do it again in a few months when they're particularly bored; whatever, it's a few days out of the year.
CEX (UK secondhand games/electronics) will sell you a HTC Salsa* for £3 ($4.12) and Argos (generic catalogue warehouse) will sell you a SIM for £1 ($1.37) that you can then top up with £10 ($13.75) at ATMs, etc., for 7GB of data.
Total cost: £14 ($19.24) which is probably under a week's worth of lunch money these days.
* Should still work on 3G HSDPA 2100MHz.
A prepaid data plan will set you back about 25 a month here, but Canada has infamously high mobile fees. I know people in the EU who pay about $10 a month for unlimited mobile data.
And yes. They will sell one to an unaccompanied minor. Sure, maybe not a 6 year old, but if a 14 year old comes in with the money, that's a sale. There's no law against it (at least here). And unlike with a 14 year old trying to buy a giant butcher knife or spraypaint or whatever, society doesn't seem to have a "uhh, wait a minute" catch on this particular one. It's just a phone. Every kid has a phone, right? They probably just broke their last one. Again.
It's the plan I was thinking the store wouldn't sell, don't those have to be in someone's name? (But I might be wrong, I've never used a prepaid SIM.)
> I know people in the EU who pay about $10 a month for unlimited mobile data.
Perhaps, but not on a prepaid plan. I'm sure you can't buy a post-paid plan as a minor, that wouldn't make any sense!
Prepaid tends to be cheaper in Ireland. Because postpaid is theoretically subsidising your phone and even sim only plans tend to get price shopped around against phone included plans. The cheapest postpaid plan with unlimited data is €30/month without a phone or €55/month with a phone 
> the whole thing wasn't really worth it
I have the impression that they would be trilled, and develop cravings for those data packet escapes. And the cravings would be much worse because of the artificial scarcity
Parents are relying too much on screens as a form of parenting/entertainment without teaching these critical skills.
Start with limits and let them earn the right to have more access. When you kid starts riding a bike you don't let them ride everywhere, you let them stay on the block, and if they understand safety and are being safe, you slowly expand the range they can go.
Contra: whether they're online or not, conversations about them will take place. And if they're not online then how can they defend themselves, either as an individual or by herding their friends in their defence as well.
Is that a thing? I have plenty of friends that use Instagram but they don't look at each other's stuff or talk about what someone they know in real life posted. If they care about people they know seeing it they put it on Facebook or in the group chat.
Being prevented from using a social media platform at that age, that one's peers are all on would definitely lead to possible social issues in some groups.
I'm assuming the commenter I was responding to is not a teenager (given mention of Facebook being their peer group's primary social media platform), so their experience of their peers being able to use social media in a more healthy manner is unlikely to map to the teenage experience.
Some assumptions on my part. Not the most constructive "best possible interpretation" response, I'll admit. I'm also not expressing a strong opinion that kids should be "allowed" or "blocked" from usage of social media. It's a very tricky issue but absolutely not one to be dismissive of.
Instagram is not an essential part of any of this. If the worst thing your kid can say about you when they hit adulthood is "daddy didn't let me on Instagram," then you did a phenomenal job.
I'll wait here with bated breath for proof of your intellectual and emotional superiority.
If you want children to have valid and engaging social experiences then encourage them to do so without a screen.
In the end you don't want to be friends you want to set clear guidelines and expectations.
Venting f-bombs teaches them to vent f-bombs.. not great.
Your kids will be back for money regardless..
> This is the I better be my child's best friend or do what they want or they won't like me and will never talk to me again parenting style.
No, there's a great honking excluded middle there between the “fuck off” parenting style and the “I must be my kids best friend” style.
Social media is social interaction. It's an inextricable part, if not the centerpiece for many kids these days. This is the modern equivalent of saying "no friends allowed"/"you can only see and talk to your friends for a couple of minutes a day", as hyperbolic as that may seem. Extreme rejection and rebellion is a logical outcome from that.
Truth is they'd be better off without it, for as long as possible. Focusing on media instead of school is a great way to end up working at a gas station later in life.
Or in a ditch somewhere, when the pressure gets too much.
Here at my times kids were told they would be shoveling dirt if they had neglected school. It may be anegdotal but I know many of such school low performers who today own excavators, dumper trucks fleet, construction businesses. The point is they do much better than some of their now blue collar school peers burned out after years of studying and "career" often pushed to impress parents and social circle.
It’s a dead-end job with no fulfillment, low pay, low flexibility, and not much free time for intellectual growth.
> who today own excavators, dumper trucks fleet, construction businesses
Cool, those are great things that are explicitly not “working at a gas station”.
> Extreme rejection and rebellion is a logical outcome from that.
If that’s the result then you are failing as a parent.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the world would be a much better place if the big players in social media ceased to exist, but no single person can act as an island, and you need to understand the problem well enough to give your kids alternatives rather than just put your foot down and say “no” — even us adults have trouble staying off whichever social network our friends and family use.
This isn’t about being “socially inept” — if everyone simultaneously agreed to not use social media, we could and would all go back to what we did before — but even knowing the nature of the beast, dismissing its power, its pull, its allure, is a Canute move.
 @iamstupidsimple was saying people not on the contact list would be more likely to be forgotten, and that’s true regardless of if the person not on the list is socially awkward or highly charismatic; before Facebook, the list was a piece of paper, but the same applies to that paper list.
When your kids’ friends send a request to all their social media contacts list, it takes extra effort for your kids’ friends to realise your kids are one of the few people who aren’t in that list and need to be contacted separately.
Is that fair? No.
Is it nice? No.
Is it fun? No.
Is it malicious? No.
Is it a lack of interest on the part of your kids’ friends? No.
Is it a reason for your kids to secretly make their own accounts without you knowing about it? Yes.
Of course, this is all judging just by the tone of your posts, so it might not be (and I hope it isn't) a true reflection of reality. Kids are smart, they just lack experience. But they still deserve respect from day 1, and if they have it then most of the usual parenting problems never surface.
> Of course, this is all judging just by the tone of your posts
That is quite the assumption. Perhaps I communicate less delicately than you are accustomed.
An enterprising teenager may earn money in undesirable ways.
I’m a parent and I’m thinking I’ll handle this as a clear you can have it or you can’t to avoid the grey and black market incentives.
What do you do when they mow some lawns and do just that?
What you're describing sounds like it would hold back your child's social development. I wouldn't recommend it.
But surveilling on them will. You're using your own active involvement as a crutch to compensate for the fact that you can't leave them to their own devices and know they'll do the right thing.
But how can they do that if you don't teach them and you don't give them the right chance to show they can do it? You're not teaching them to independently use the technology responsibly (or not at all), but rather you're forcing a behavior into place.
It's a very short-term solution that will backfire when they're put out there on their own and you're not there to push them in the right direction. Sooner or later they'll need to figure out how to do things independently. Maybe some active handling is okay for a while, but eventually, you've got to take off the training wheels, no?
They engage socially in the real world. They don’t need social media to fail and learn from failure. They have every opportunity to fail for real among real people.
When they get out on their own hopefully they learned they don’t need social media to be happy or drugs or alcohol. At that point they are free to make their own decisions and face all the consequences without the help of a parent.
Ah, but how would they have learned that? After all, they're not doing it because they "learned" it, they're doing it because you're forcing them to do it. You're never actually "unit testing" their ability to come to the right independent judgment on their own, because you don't trust them to. But because you don't trust them to, they may not develop the experience to independently come to probably the same conclusion you came to. And if they do, you certainly aren't helping them.
Rather, what they're learning is that they'll have to go and buy their own prepaid cell phone on their own and get better and better at hiding it because "Dad is an uptight Boomer so what he doesn't know about this prepaid cell phone won't hurt him" which is probably not the lesson you're trying to teach them. If that mentality gets to drugs, alcohol, and sex, you may be in for more than you bargained for -- whether you pick up on it or not.
Kids are very, very smart. They have much more time than you, the vigor of youth, the ability to see everything with fresh eyes and work things out from first principles -- and not just that, they have a whole network of /friends/ who have the exact same resources and who they can work with as a team.
You're not going to stop them from experimenting. You'll just stop them from being open about it with you.
NetNanny, which was basically a very visible firewall, automatically incentivized a search for more network access, and treating that access like a fat kid in a candy store for much longer than I’m happy with today.
The early “find my iPhone” tech that cell providers rolled out probably worked well until it sent me, a 16 y/o with angst issues, a text saying my cell phone was now enrolled and being tracked. Fairly enraging at the time.
The counter though is with some knowledge of silent firewalls and IAM, I could see considering something similar
More silent, as a parent.
There is fairly shocking discussion around kids<>porn access<>serious issues with healthy sexuality. Screen time is turning young kids into zombies; there is just no planet where unrestricted tech access is good for the growing brain. The current Gen pop attitudes towards tech don’t offer much form of support - their kids are buried in an iPhone, my personal parenting policy will be a inherent critique of their parenting. PTAs see no issue with default Facebook use, thus enrolling my children in an data logging system I specifically work to avoid.
Add in disinfo campaigns and the young mind…
All this to say: invisible training wheels, or rather invisible walls and some tracking, seem to be the only way to raise a kid who must know tech, but won’t learn how to handle full exposure to it until well after 18 (bc adults are struggling too). Conversely, if that surveillance is discovered, it’s hell to pay as a parent. Tricky.
Kyle: [enters] Mom, Dad, can I have money to buy Chinpokomon?
Sheila: What's a Chinpokomon?
Kyle: I'm not sure.
Sheila: Well, why do you need one?
Kyle: I don't know.
Sheila: ...Well then, the answer is no, Kyle. You just got money to buy your Cyborg Bill doll.
Kyle: Yeah, but Cyborg Bill is totally gay now. Please Mom? Everybody else has Chinpokomon.
Gerald: Well, Kyle, that's not a reason to buy something.
Ike: Neah Kyle doh.
Gerald: You see, son, fads come and go. And this "Chin-po-ko-mon" is obviously nothing more than a fad. You don't have to be a part of it. In fact, you can make an even stronger statement by saying to your peers, "I'm not going to be a part of this fad, because I'm an individual." Do you understand?
Kyle: Yes. Yes, I do, Dad. Now let me tell you how it works in the real world. In the real world, I can either get a Chinpokomon, or I can be the only kid without one, which singles me out, and causes the other kids to make fun of me and kick my ass.
Gerald: Hm... Good point; here's $10. [hands it to him]
Gerald: Wait, here's 20. Get one for your brother, too. [Kyle receives the other $10 and walks out]
Ike: Hey, Chih-paw-ko.
(Because I never really played with a real tamagotchi I had to figure out for myself what a tamagotchi should do. So mine was a pig. And I had this "game design" problem that every time you feed it it got just a bit heavier. And of course unbounded weight gain is not good, so I added a menu point to slaughter the pig. I even went to the library to research how many kgs of sausage and bacon it should generate per 100kg of raw pig. Turns out real tamagotchis don't work this way.)
And more the next year https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbTgDfB0cao
authoritarian governing erodes the trust you need to effect durable change in your citizens' behavior.
Very unlikely that Instagram has a net psychological benefit, but being in school seems to have had a more direct effect.
If cellular, I’d roll with family iPhones and app restrictions on the kids’ phones, plus a lot of careful messaging.
Social media is damaging, but not having social media is also damaging since you may as well be the kid coming to school in a potato sack
You must realize that every generation of youth from here on will face some unique challenges of their own, and the only way to overcome them is to help them tackle it head on and not let them become defeated by it. Attempting to time travel back to some simpler time is not an option. The simpler time is gone, and will never return. This is their life now.
Meth is extremely unpopular in the 13-18 demographic, and in particular it’s far less popular than social media.
How does that work?
I can't imagine how impossible it would be to shield them from all these toxic technologies like smartphones and social media while still being in the continental USA. Even if you managed it, they'd be in constant exposure on the periphery, and incessantly reminded of their otherness vs. the masses. It just doesn't seem healthy to me.
If I had kids today, I'd buy an undeveloped island somewhere like coastal Panama and raise an army of them off-grid while homesteading on it.
But I've opted to just go childless instead. Humans are like a wildfire raging across the planet, it doesn't need me to throw more fuel on it...
You may not be far from the truth: last year I watched a talk given by Jonathan Haidt (sp?) and he specifically showed the suicide numbers increasing when the "Like" button appeared... the increase was not an anomaly, it was obvious.
I can't find the video unfortunately :(
He talked about it here on the Joe Rogan Podcast
We can also treat this like smoking and opioids and lawsuit/tax excessively instagram and use it to pay for public mental health services.
It seems like there will be a clear evidence trail that Instagram knowingly marketed and permitted use of their app by children under 13. So that’s some future administration/state AG payday, I think.
When IG first arrived it was basically Flickr for mobiles. It didn't have a horrible algorithm or any real novelty other than being a slick mobile interface for sharing the same stuff that was being shared on the web.
Also, as a working adult, I didn't get my first iPhone until my boss handed it to me in 2010. I doubt a critical mass of 10-14 year old girls were bullying each other on IG from 2010.
And since someone may well ask, the enormous difference by sex in those two charts is because the first chart I linked is hospitalizations related to self-poisoning. The above CDC chart is completed suicides. Girls tend to choose techniques that are generally less fatal, like poisoning. Boys tend to hang or shoot themselves, while the latter of those is very rare with girls. It's rather fascinating, and disturbing, how intensely localized these things can be, and how they're driven by social factors and what's culturally familiar.
> U.S. hospitals going back to 2001 and were able to estimate self-harm rates for the entire country. They found that the rate for boys held steady at roughly 200 per hundred thousand boys in the age range of fifteen to nineteen. The rate for girls in that age range was much higher, but had also been relatively steady from 2001 to 2009, at around 420 per hundred thousand girls. Beginning in 2010, however, the girls’ rate began to rise steadily, reaching 630 per hundred thousand in 2015. The rate for younger girls (ages ten to fourteen) rose even more quickly, nearly tripling from roughly 110 per hundred thousand in 2009 to 318 per hundred thousand in 2015. (The corresponding rate for boys in that age range was around 40 throughout the period studied.) The years since 2010 have been very hard on girls.
But of course, an isolated, depressed, anxious child is likely to withdraw and spend a great deal of time online. Whether it's a symptom or a cause, or both and to which degree, seems unclear.
That said, just anecdotally, as a man in my 30s, I cannot look at the typical popular Instagram profile targeted at my demographic. It evokes horrible feelings. Jealousy, image insecurity, sexual insecurity, sexual frustration, FOMO, social status insecurity... all bundled up in a nasty ball. And quite reliably induced after ten seconds and three photos of inhumanely sexy men in implausibly photogenic homes that cost 10x as much as I'll ever make. No thanks. I believe that walling that whole thing off mentally, has been good for me.
Anyway in the name of research, I pulled some Instagram URLs from a Telegram chat with some friends. To their credit they mostly seem to post memes and jokes from Instagram, not Instagram models. But the first non-meme account I pulled up is a good example, actually: https://www.instagram.com/benjaminbenz/ (somewhat NSFW?)
Exotic vacations, mountain-top kisses, ATVs, cute dogs, fast cars, jet-setting, gym gains, beautiful mansions, fishing trips, big muscles, sports, a too-sexy boyfriend, and a good dose of almost-tasteful butts and some sexual suggestiveness. No cares. All happy. In love. Damn, I want all that. Why isn't my life like that? Sure, it's mostly fake. But good luck convincing my amygdala of that.
It seems clear to me this isn't random.
The biggest cause of teen suicide is essentially feeling rejected in some way by your peers: being bullied, a breakup, "mean girl" switches from former friends, etc. When schools closed, the immediate pressure of any of these negative social interactions went to the background (or at least simmered on social media). When schools reopened, kids tried to figure out where they fit back in the "totem pole" of adolescent social hierarchy, and the rise in suicides is a result of kids not figuring out where they fit in when they went back.
I was bullied a lot in school. When I became avoidant and just stayed at home, I was a lot happier because I didn't have those stressors.
Needless to say, I'm not a fan of public schooling and the one size fits all approach
I spent most of my time in front of TV and PC until I was 17.
The only thing that changed was getting Internet on the PC when I was 15. So, I could finally talk with people that had something in common with me.
or a result of kids figuring out where they fit in and not liking it
Whatever the cause, I'm willing to forgo scientific correctness to say what was obvious before the pandemic: OUR SCHOOL SYSTEMS ARE TERRIBLE FOR YOUR HEALTH
Expensive modern day prisons.
"Having been burned one too many times by putting lines through shotgun blasts, scientists switched to correlation categories."
I like where this is going
Disappointingly that does read a little close to "I found what I was looking for so stopped looking" which makes me want to grab the author and interrogate them over zoom into they hang up.
Now conjecturing as to correlation confounders. Maybe the girls need more time at home with pets, family, hobbies, more time in their yard, less time exposed to commuting and classes they don't want to take or people they don't want to see. School is such a diverse set of stressors and the data here isn't clear to begin with...
A more verified takeaway is that girls attempted suicide around 2X more often than boys. This we know has something to do with technology and social media, whereas the schools opening is still potentially spuriously linked.
> An important issue for users of NSDUH and TEDS data to consider is that the unit of analysis for TEDS is admissions to substance use treatment, whereas NSDUH estimates are for individuals who received substance use treatment. Consequently, individuals who were admitted to substance use treatment multiple times in the reporting period would be counted more than once in the TEDS admissions data.
Earlier in that same document, the authors state that they only ask these two categories about suicidal thoughts:
- the individual is over 18
- the individual is under or over 18, but has had a major depressive episode (MDE)
The statistics also include multiple studies with variable sampling beyond NSDUH and TEDS. I think the best one can do is to presume mixed data, which would indeed include repeat attempts for the same individual.
One could argue that in person schooling should be an option moving forward.
Would that have an impact longer term / have any other consequences?
I feel like there's just so much more to this than 'more suicides, in person school optional now... problem solved?'
For someone contemplating suicide is just not going to school a solution to their struggles?
It could be if you're suffering heavily from bullying.
> more time spent in the classroom appears to be associated with increased rates of attempted or completed suicide.
isolation factor (ie, lockdowns) vs depression rates. When isolation factor decreases (lockdown releases), depression rates increase. Negative correlation.
Social contact (ie, lockdown releases) vs depression rates. When lockdowns release and social contact increases, depression rates increase. Positive correlation.
If it was straightforward coordinate plane values like to describe the slope of a line, you can't really easily reverse the correlation just by redefining the variables.
It always has been an option.
¹: someone overly cynical; not an adherent of cynicism
I might be biased, I'm autistic and my high school experiences were abhorrent and ended up scarring me for life. Primary school and college were fine, but high school? Forget about it, absolute bloody nightmare :)
Her anxiety levels went through the roof. Thankfully we didn't get to an extreme case of suicidal ideation but things were pretty bad for a while. Medication has helped, but getting a therapist appointment is nearly impossible. They're 110% booked.
What we understand is that during the shutdown the 'alpha' girls all coalesced on social media and shut everyone else out. They also took vacations, had slumber parties, and did a ton of things that everyone else was avoiding because those families tried to listen to the current advice.
When the return to school happened these cliques instantly had fresh prey: the unconnected, the minorities, the non-english speakers, the ones that didn't purchase new clothing over the lockdown, the ones that didn't go to the slumber parties and vacations. And half of your friends/allies were in the other side of the alphabet and working from home.
This is all stuff that boys of this age don't care about. But the girls are vicious. Two of our friends have physically relocated out of the district, two others are going to change schools.
TLDR: Preteen girls are awful, and always have been, but the lockdown concentrated and amplified it to horrific proportions.
That's not totally true. Sure the buys may not care about new clothes or slumber parties (though I doubt it), but they will care for other reasons. Bullying doesn't have a gender.
There's lots of research on this topic.
You see the ripples of this well into adulthood. You see it as the expectations placed on girls and women where they're held to a higher standard than boys and men are. And who are the agents of that? Other girls and women.
I'm not female but all of my experience has been that no one tears women down more than other women and that female bullying is generally much, much worse than male bullying (at least until male bullying graduates into violence including sexual violence).
Why? Because it seems to be much more multi-faceted. Instead of being primarily physical dominance and signaling, it encompasses social alienation and psychological torment.
My experience is that it mostly starts there. Most of male "bullying" is establishing physical dominance. It's almost all intimidation, physical threats, pushing/shoving, fighting. The psychological, gossipy, demeaning sort of bullying is more from the females.
Not true. Guys are very effective at spreading lies about people and in using condescension and insults. Men and boys are very effective in demeaning other people.
They absolutely not limit to physical violence - especially at teenage age. In fact, their most common way to get at others are words. The physical violence happens on top of it.
> You see the ripples of this well into adulthood. You see it as the expectations placed on girls and women where they're held to a higher standard than boys and men are. And who are the agents of that? Other girls and women.
The part about girls and women being held to higher standards than boys and men is news to me. Is this your impression, or is this backed up by data/studies/something?
how would that even help though? was what you are describing specific to this school then? would moving to another, unfamiliar group of preteen girls just add to anxiety?
(in my case, relatively sheltered boys so i don't see much of this... for now, anyway)
Pretty much the same reason we change jobs.
But, if parent thinks that, the parent won't teach girls how to find better friends, how to deal with issues nor curb asshole behavior in his daughters.
Or it really was going back to a school environment that is often socially toxic. Or some combination of these and other factors.
This could very well be the effect of a year of lockdown and having to go back in the real world. If that's the case, we'll see the number of suicides drop over the next years.
Lockdowns caused me to fall into depression again but I never thought about killing myself. There was always hope that things would eventually go back to normal, you were .
Now that the normal is back and I'm confronted with a reality which is partially worse than lockdown times (eg. having to go back to the office for employees, having to go to school instead of studying on zoom for students) I have a year of mental issues which I didn't fix, I'm burnt out, there is nothing else to wait for which will magically improve my life and I'm faced with the challenges of the pre-lockdown world. It doesn't surprise me to see suicides going up.
The connection to anxiety, bullying and depression has already been demonstrated with adult women. It should be a surprise that young girls are worse affected.
Men/boys mostly don't care about social attention and approval in ways that are amped up on Social Media. Yes we are different!
Males are historically more effective at killing themselves. This data only looks at ED visits and you don't go to the hospital when you're clearly dead. And if you assume "suicide attempt" is using the technical definition , they're only looking at ED visits where the patient did not die.
Males aged 15 to 24 were 4x as likely to succeed in killing themselves in 2019. 
: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide (see Definitions)
: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide (see Figure 2)
In terms of comparing male to female, the comparison is still valid as well, assuming that males haven't gotten more successful than they were last year. Assuming that males are successful some proportion of the time, P, if that proportion hasn't changed, a bump of 3.7% in their total number of failures should give a general indication of the trend. If you'd take a position like "a 3.7% increase in failed attempts was accompanied by a 30% increase in successful attempts," you'd have to support the argument for why they're not only committing more suicide, but why it's more effective than it was before. That's hardly where occam's razor falls.
Bringing up makes suicide rates vs female without trying to address if that explains a 50v3% increase in attempts isn’t very helpful, or interesting.
My hope was to encourage the parent commenter to add some basic data to their worst.
[I've included the link to the CDC report above and the summary below because this information is important and should be accessible (i.e. should not require allowing fbcdn.net trackers). I also prefer the source to somebody's interpretation. If the original article provides additional insight I'd like to see a non-FB link to it, my admittedly quick scan of the comments did not spot one.]
From the SUMMARY of that report:
What is already known about this topic?
During 2020, the proportion of mental health–related emergency department (ED) visits among adolescents aged 12–17 years increased 31% compared with that during 2019.
What is added by this report?
In May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, ED visits for suspected suicide attempts began to increase among adolescents aged 12–17 years, especially girls. During February 21–March 20, 2021, suspected suicide attempt ED visits were 50.6% higher among girls aged 12–17 years than during the same period in 2019; among boys aged 12–17 years, suspected suicide attempt ED visits increased 3.7%.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Suicide prevention requires a comprehensive approach that is adapted during times of infrastructure disruption, involves multisectoral partnerships and implements evidence-based strategies to address the range of factors influencing suicide risk.
I have issues with this article, as well as with the owner of the 'bulletin.com' domain. This article flips between discussing 'suicide attempts' and 'suicides' as if they are interchangeable, while only showing the data on 'suicide attempts'.
This bothers me.
"In fact, suicide attempts in adolescent girls dropped to rates similar to those seen in the summer of 2019. That’s not unexpected. Suicide death rates (for which we have decades of reliable data) among teens and young adults predictably fall during summer months, and also in December—that is, times when schools are the least in session." (emphasis mine)
'Suicide deaths' and 'suicide attempts' are not interchaneable.
I.e. Has teen suicide in America always been higher when schools were open always, or is this somehow unique to the extra closures?
Ah hadn't noticed that and was struggling to paste the info graphic. Would love to see the decorrolation displayed graphically but that's just the way I read data
This suggests that the predisposed or susceptible population is weeded out by adulthood, yes?
Seems like a good enough reason to keep the status quo, while others continue research about the actual reason, assuming there is consensus on decreasing it.
From the way the data is presented, it's not clear that there was a net change either way. Maybe this just concentrated suicides around school reopening times.