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The Harm in Innocent Teasing

Teasing. What comes to mind for you? Do you think of friendly banter, affectionate, maybe even flirty teasing? Teasing to embarrass somewhat, but in a playful way? Maybe in the form of a nickname, joke, or light-hearted insult? Or Does teasing feel more like taunting, in which someone else is making fun of you in a mean way? Does your identity feel threatened due to being targeted or bullied for being different? Does teasing take the form of jokes that are inappropriate or offensive [e.g., racist, sexist, homophobic]? How is your sense of self impacted?

No Name Calling Week

No Name Calling Week (January 18th- 22nd, 2021) falls during the same week of the presidential inauguration and is just weeks before Twin Cities educators are preparing for the transition to classroom learning for K-5th grade students.

Adjusting to LIfe as a Youth with T1D

Adjusting to life after being diagnosed with T1D can be overwhelming as you are navigating through a new “normal”. Continue reading for some helpful tips to help you adjust to your life.

When Teens Bully Themselves

Teens have long used phones and the internet to tease and even torture one another, but research increasingly reveals that a surprising number use social media to post, send, or share demeaning messages about themselves.

In a sample of more than 5,000 American students between the ages of 12 and 17, about 6 percent said they had anonymously posted something “mean” about themselves online, according to a report in the Journal of Adolescent Health by cyberbullying researchers Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja. This behavior correlates with depression, identification as a sexual minority, previous exposure to bullying, and with physical self-harm.

Like other forms of self-harm, deriding oneself online is a way to vent and relieve negative emotions, says Ellen Selkie, a specialist in adolescent medicine at the University of Michigan. Yet digital self-harm is often quite public, and the survey study found that seeking attention or a reaction were among the reasons participants gave for such message sharing. Adolescence is a time when peers become particularly important, Selkie explains, and posting self-critical content could be a way for teens to see whether others stand up for them or endorse the cruel comments.

How should adults respond? “There is no silver bullet, and each child and family and situation is different,” explains Diana Divecha, a developmental psychologist at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Get emergency help if harm to a child seems imminent, she advises. Mental-health professionals can screen for mood disorders and seek to uncover the motivation behind the behavior.

Otherwise, parents might initiate a conversation by mentioning what they noticed of the behavior and using gentle prompts to gather a sense of what happened. Empathy and careful listening—even a brief story of a time when the parent felt similarly—can help move the conversation forward.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201803/when-teens-bully-themselves