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Learning Insights

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Self Harm

Self-harm may be just one of a set of behaviours an individual exhibits as part of a coping strategy for difficulties in other aspects of life including difficulties with work, learning, friends, family breakdown and more. It does not help that youngsters now interact more with 'friends' on the internet, than with their families at times.

Apparently, today, teenagers prefer to live in the virtual world and see school and family time as mere ‘pauses’ in the online and social media existence that keeps them almost constantly connected to friends and other contacts on their social network sites.

It is suggested the digital world is taking precedence in young people's lives Prof Rachel Thompson, University of Sussex proposes in her study of’ digital childhoods’. Social media activity is especially intense late at night, when many teenagers struggle to ‘sign off’, and again first thing in the morning. Favourites such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsAP, YouTube and Skype are also crucial in the hours in-between, with teenagers switching off only when they have little choice. Even at school and there is a temptation to ‘out wit the system’, by using phones when a supply teacher is in charge or sending text messages under the desk.

Why some youngsters are so reliant upon this feedback from an anonymous site and from individuals who know nothing about them, is why these individuals are vulnerable and any parent, school or organisation coping with these matters may like to ask 'in what other ways is this individual not coping'.  They may seem able and capable, but this does not mean the individual is coping or necessarily making sense of things commensurate with the abilities we think or perceive them to have. Sometimes it is just this opportunity to be understood in terms of what the indivudual finds easy and what they find harder is the basis of making sense of what they are struggling with. This is what we do at Learning Insights, so call us if you think we can help. CONTACT US 

Hundreds of schools are now monitoring pupils’ online communications using computer software that identifies and translates offensive urban slang. The programme scans children's messages for any word or acronyms deemed inappropriate and then sends a report to the teachers. Teachers are also able to consult the dictionary to check the meaning of any phrases overheard in corridors - enabling schools to keep up to date with changes in language. The system is used by almost 1,400 secondary schools in the UK.

There are growing fears that bullying, racism, homophobia, self harm and sexually explicit messages may be going unnoticed because of the confusion over pupils’ vocabulary. Jonathan Valentine, the founder of Impero, the software company behind the programme, said it was difficult for teachers to keep up with the slang. The list can be used in any school but it can also be added to if necessary. It can also alert school staff to such things as potential suicide. The dictionary is split into nine sections dealing with a series of issues faced by schoolchildren. Among the words flagged up by the system are ‘gnoc’ meaning ‘get naked on camera’ and ‘dirl’, which stands for ‘die in real life’.


Some places to turn to: if you or someone you know is affected by issues raised by this topic, help is available.

Papyrus, the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide: papyrus.uk.org helpline (0800) 068 4141

Harmless, which provides self harm support: harmless.org.uk, e-mail info@harmless.org.UK

Beat, the UK charity for anorexia and bulimia: b-eat.co.uk, youthline 0845 634 7650

If you would like to talk to someone about self-harm or have a presentation to a group in school, college or workplace, then call us at Learning Insights - go to contact us.


If you are worried about a young person's behaviour in any way, give us a call.  We may not have the skill set you need, but we can possibly get you in the right direction. Many young people who are struggling academically can start to self-harm or turn to drugs, so do please call if you have concerns and would like to explore options.

A young person can also talk directly to us CONTACT US