An analysis of emergency room visits for adolescent and teenage girls has discovered an alarming increase in self harm over the past decade. From 2009 to 2015 the rate of self-harm emergency visits for girls aged 10-14 increased 18.8% yearly from 110 per 100,000 to 318 per 100,000. Comparatively, the rate for girls aged 15-19 increased 7.2% yearly from 2008-2015 and for age 20-24 by 2.0% yearly from 2001-2015. Experts and psychologists believe that the higher rate increase for younger girls may be related to smartphones, the internet, and social media. Jean Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University, has found in her research that teens who spend 5 or more hours on the internet daily have a 71% increased likeliness of having a suicide risk factor (such as depression or suicidal thoughts) compared to teens who spend one hour or less. The original iPhone was released in mid-2007, and in 2015 surveys showed that nearly 74% of girls age 13-17 have their own smartphone, up from less than 40% in 2012.
How old were you when you got your first phone? Have you ever had to talk to a child about body image or self-harm? What can we do to combat the rising rates of teenage depression, internet bullying, and self-harm in America?