The cross : According to Public Health France, emergency room admissions for suicidal acts increased by 40% in 2021 among girls under the age of 15. Does this data surprise you?
Beatrice Copper-Royer: No Unfortunately. Since the start of the pandemic, I have seen many more young girls in consultation with depressive anxiety disorders, which have sometimes acted out or with eating disorders, scarification, early alcoholism. I think they weren’t doing well before the health crisis and this ordeal obviously didn’t help matters. For some, confinement and distance learning have led to a lack of motivation at school and a withdrawal to social networks which does not do them any good.
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In your book, you alert parents to this use “passionate and precocious of social networks which can turn into an obsession”.
BC-R.: Yes, some young girls have Instagram, Tik Tok or Snapchat accounts from 10-11 years old. They are interested very early in the influencers on YouTube, watch series. They talk a lot with each other but there are rivalries, disputes. They constantly compare each other. They have a desire to identify with images that society sends back to them. And they want to behave like grown-ups, when they’re not even pubescent. These little girls leave the world of childhood too quickly. Maturity is not there. It is important that parents surround them and give them a framework to guide them towards autonomy.
→ ANALYSIS. Should teens be banned from social media?
What are the dangers of these behaviors?
BC-R.: Many of these young girls overexpose themselves on social networks, embark very early on in romantic relationships, when they are not at all ready for it. Some exchange on the Internet with older men or post naked photos of themselves, which they believe to be sending to their boyfriends and which are actually recovered by malicious people. All this is not simple and they are quickly outdated.
Obsessed with their image, they see themselves as too fat or too thin and end up with eating disorders. They are in an ideal of perfection which does not exist. If concern for self-image is normal in adolescence, in their case, everything is oversized.
Finally, many also watch pornographic content. They feel like it has to be done. At the same time, they are sensitive to MeToo movement. But that does not prevent them from being hypersexualized and submitting to the desire of boys.
Are the boys spared?
BC-R.: Yes, at the same age, that is to say between 10 and 13 years old, boys are still children and their immaturity probably preserves them a little. They are less into verbalization and more into “doing things with others”. When they are with their friends, they play video games. They spend too much time there, which is not a good thing, but they really play, they are in the imagination. Girls, on the other hand, are much more in touch with the reality of society.
How to help a teenager who is in trouble
► Consultation with a shrink
100% child and teen psy package, with 10 sessions with no advance fee, fully funded by health insurance. Operational since June 2021, this system is aimed at children and adolescents aged 3 to 17 during the health crisis. Parents must first contact a doctor and then they can choose a psychologist participating in the operation on the site https://www.psyenfantado.sante.gouv.fr/.
Youth health thread for 12-25 year olds. Professionals answer the questions that young people have about their health or their discomfort. Website: http://www.filsantejeunes.com/Numéro vert: 0800 235 236.
Net Listening 0800 200 000. This is a national, free, anonymous and confidential number to turn to in case of cyberbullying.
3114, a new national suicide prevention number :Free, accessible 7 days a week and 24 hours a day, from all over the national territory.
Phare Enfants Parents is an association committed to the prevention of youth suicide. Volunteers listen to children and teenagers and their parents. Telephone: 01 43 46 00 62, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
► Places of resources
Teenage homes. There is one in almost every department. Their mission: reception, information, prevention, support and multidisciplinary care for adolescents and their families. To find a home for adolescents: http://www.anmda.fr/.