The internet can be such a good thing. It can link distant people and educate others. However, it can also be a place for great evil to thrive.
One such evil is taking hold now on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social networks. The hashtag #cutforZayn, #cut4Zayn and other variations of it have been trending encouraging fans (namely girls) to cut themselves in protest to former “One Direction” singer, 22-year-old Zayn Malik abandonment of the boyband.
Zayn Malik quit the group after citing stress and wanting to live a “normal” life free from the spotlight his former boyband generated. The group, “One Direction” is very popular today with millions of fans, mostly tweens or young pubescent girls. These girls are drawn to the vocal talent and handsome looks of the group’s male members. Unfortunately, as with any group of fans, fanaticism takes hold. Reason, conscience and morals are thrown out and replaced with instinctual animalistic drives.
Many young girls which clear mental problems are resorting to cutting themselves and posting images of their self-harm after Malik left the group. Psychologists and other mental health professionals are outraged and calling on parents and schools to monitor children for any signs of self-harm as well as to monitor their social network usage.
According to studies, girls are more prevalent to cutting themselves with boys with 1 out of 5 young females ages 10 to 18 are resorting to this self-harm. This does not mean that boys do not harm themselves. They sometimes restore to burning instead of cutting. The DSM calls this cutting of oneself “Non-Suicidal Self-Injury” or “NSSI.” This self-harm brings about endorphins in the brain to help a teen cope with stress. The sensation of pain is a way of venting stress similar to someone punching a wall or an object when frustrated. NSSI is comorbid with other mental illnesses. Anyone exhibiting signs of it should see psychological services immediately.
To any young girls reading this post, please do not harm yourself. No one is worth harming yourself over. You need to understand that things in life change. This boyband member wanted to try something new. He has every right to do that. Moreover, these celebrities make money off of you. They do not sit at home thinking about each fan. This is a business. The people who do care for you are your family and friends who do not want to see you hurting yourself. You are all that matters, not some boyband who will become “old news” in a few years as did the Beatles or any other boyband that followed them.
Leonard Sax MD PhD is a physician, psychologist, and author of “Boys Adrift” (Basic Books, 2007) and “Girls on the Edge” (Basic Books, 2010).
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