PHOENIX — A recent study from the Journal of Pediatrics said that children as young as 7 years old harm themselves on purpose to deal with emotional stress.
They do this by cutting, burning, or hitting themselves.
The numbers come from interviews with children in Denver and central New Jersey. Nearly 8 percent of the third-graders interviewed said they had hurt themselves intentionally.
“I suspect it may have to do with the children having more media exposure and interactive media exposure,” said Dr. Urszula Kotlow, a child therapist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
According to Kotlow, there are many reasons why kids self-harm, but she attributes some of the latest cases to isolation from others and more time interacting online.
She believes more kids are finding themselves in adultlike situations on the Internet when they aren’t mature enough to cope with those situations.
“It’s like they are being traumatized with the experiences they have with cyberbullying, and with the more frequent, uncensored exposure,” said Kotlow.
Kotlow believes less exposure to the Internet and cell phones could help prevent kids from harming themselves.
If a child is self-harming, parents should try to seek counseling for them.