While I was researching a program for troubled teens, I came upon various internet chat rooms, Facebook groups, and twitter threads that were supposedly places for troubled teens to go to for help with their problems. I was shocked at what the organizer and contributors considered “help.”
Each group or chat room was filled with filthy, vulgar, and outright obscene commentary about their lives, their peers, their families and the world. The common thread through it all was that “everyone else is stupid, and I alone have it all figured out.” This mindset was especially directed towards parents, who apparently are at the root of every teenagers woes.
Sadly, each time a new “troubled teen” would join the group each participant would welcome her (or him) assuring her that she's in the right place for help among all of her “friends” who “love and support” her, then evolving into week after week tirades of the group members about her parents stupidity of sending her to a therapist to help her with the aftermath of her teen suicide attempt. ”WE know how to help you”, they say “because we've been there. Again degrading into even more vulgarity filled rants about the “unqualified” therapist and how it is all a sham and fraud.
Each night as the new troubled teens checked in, and steeped some more in group hate and misery, they all ended their chat in their own sign off.. “we love you..” “we're all in this together” “I'm glad I have real friends here” and so on. The ironic thing is that other than Facebook, all of the participants are anonymous. They could all be 40 year old men trying to groom teenagers they think are real. fWith everyone being anonymous, how is it possible that (if most of the participants are real teenagers) that they could actually feel “loved” by the group enough to be persuaded to ignore the help of family, parents, and professional caregivers?
The darker side of the troubled teen chat rooms are when they glorify all of the misery they are going through, encouraging and instructing each other on self-harm and even teen suicide.
Unfortunately many teen feel a connection with the imagination of what their “friends” are like and what their motives are rather than the real relationships of their close friends and family members.
http://www.drugs.com Thu, 31 Oct 2013 18:10:15 GMT
THURSDAY Oct. 31, 2013 — While social media can help vulnerable teenagers seeking support, Internet use can do more harm than good for young people at risk of self-harm or teen suicide, a new study suggests.
Researchers from Oxford University in England found conflicting evidence on whether online activity poses a positive or negative influence for vulnerable teens, but observed a strong link between the use of Internet forums or “chat rooms” and an increased risk of suicide.
Hopefully parents of teenagers with or without serious problems will monitor their internet usage, especially in chat rooms or groups where harmful behavior and teen suicide is glorified.