Understanding Digital Self-Harm
Digital self harm must always be ruled out as a possibility when investigating anonymous cyberbullying.
By now, the behavior of self-harm is well-known. Self-harm or self-injury occurs when a person purposely harms himself. But there is also another form of self-harming behavior in which a person might engage: Digital self-harm.
Digital self-harm is behavior in which a person anonymously sends himself/herself instructions to self-harm – through online postings or messages.
What are the reasons a person might threaten or harass himself/herself?
The reasons why a person might send himself/herself harassing or threatening digital messages vary. But a person might engage in digital self-harm for the following reasons:
- to be funny/get attention
- to test their friends, or
- out of self-hate or low self-esteem
Risk Factors for Digital Self Harm
Certain risk factors are associated with digital self-harm. For instance, LGBTQ, victims of bullying, drug use, or physical self-harming behavior. All of these make it more likely a person might engage in digital self-harming.
Given the severe negative effects of cyberbullying investigators must be careful to carefully avoid victim-blaming. In early stages, however, they should remain open to the possibility that one person may be both – the victim and the cyberbully.
An experienced cyberbullying lawyer can help you look into reports of cyberbullying and help you explore legal options.