ACCORDING to recent research, self-harm rates have trebled in England and Wales, with the highest increase among girls and young women, where one in five are reporting self-harm. The National Centre for Social Research confirms that non-suicidal self-harm is increasingly being reported as ‘a way of coping’. There have been a number of cases where young people have accessed content linked to self-harm and suicide online, including that of Molly Russell, who tragically took her own life in 2017 after viewing content on Instagram.
The NSPCC has said: ‘We know from contacts to ChildLine that many children are being driven to self-harm as a way of dealing with the pressures and demands of modern-day life. Within a few clicks, children and young people can have almost unlimited access to suicide and self-harm content online – despite tech giants claiming they prohibit such material. Our campaign is calling on government to introduce independent regulation of social networks, to protect children from the risk of abuse and harmful content.’
So it’s up to online regulators and government to keep our children safe? It always seems to be somebody else’s responsibility. But what about parents?
Looking at mental health in general, the Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation (IHME) shows that about 13 per cent of the global population – around 971million – suffer from some kind of mental illness, with dementia the fastest-growing. The mental health charity Mind states that one in four people will suffer from some kind of mental illness in any given year.
But statistics also show that the problem isn’t really growing, apart from two key factors: recognition and destigmatisation have resulted in a surge of people seeking help; and most importantly, surveys have repeatedly shown that more young people are reporting mental distress. The causes are many and varied: genetic inheritance may include a certain vulnerability or predisposition. Thereafter life experiences may compound the risk factor, such as abuse, trauma, stress, domestic violence, adverse childhood experience, bullying, conflict, social isolation, and substance abuse (which may be both a cause and a symptom).
The most common illnesses are: clinical depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, drug or alcohol abuse (which together account for around 20 per cent of all mental illness), post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and dementia, affecting an estimated 50million people worldwide, more than twice the number in 1990.
On top of all that, mental health services are inadequate everywhere – there is an acute shortage of nurses, even worse when it comes to psychiatrists, and provision of beds in mental health facilities in the UK is ranked at 50th in the world, lower than Uzbekistan.
When assessing the risk factors in the lives of children and young people, it is clear that both nature and nurture play their part. But considering the typical disorders reported – for example eating problems, body image, bullying, and sexting – it is clear that the unsupervised use of social media plays a major role. Its effect is both pervasive and often destructive, yet governments, media companies, schools and parents seem paralysed when it comes to controlling access.
Or perhaps it’s even more sinister than that.
One of the newer disorders which has begun to affect society is that of gender dysphoria. A report from the American College of Paediatricians deals extensively with the biological reality of the situation (nature), and identifies environmental influences (nurture), which while entirely relevant to their particular study could well be extrapolated to link to the wider range of emotional and physical disorders now being experienced by young people.
The College urges health professionals, educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex as normal and healthy. Facts – not ideology – determine reality. It says:
· Gender dysphoria (GD) describes a psychological condition in which children experience a marked incongruence between their experienced gender and the gender associated with their biological sex.
· It is false that brain differences observed in some studies between trans- and non-trans-gender adults prove that GD is innate. Brain differences are the result rather than the cause of trans identification and behaviour.
· When GD occurs in the pre-pubertal child, it resolves in 80 – 95 per cent of patients by late adolescence, when they naturally pass through puberty.
· Complex behaviours are due to nature, nurture, and free will choices. Studies of identical twins prove that GD is predominantly influenced by non-shared post-natal events.
· There is no single family dynamic, social situation, adverse event or combination of these that has been found to destine any child to develop GD. There are many paths: social reinforcement, parental psychopathology, family dynamics, and social contagion facilitated by mainstream and social media, can all contribute to the development of GD in some vulnerable children.
· There is a suppressed debate among physicians, therapists, and academics regarding the recent trend quickly to affirm gender dysphoric youth as transgender. The medical ethics principle of ‘First do no harm’ is being silenced.
There follow another fourteen conclusions about the irreversible and toxic methods being implemented. The report ends with the following:
· Suicide rates are nearly twenty times higher among adults who undergo sex reassignment.
· Conditioning children to believe the absurdity that they could be ‘born into the wrong body’, and that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.
· There is a serious ethical problem with allowing irreversible life-changing procedures to be performed on minors who are too young to give valid consent themselves.
This is very powerful stuff, and if it had been published by UK professionals, they would even now be waiting for the midnight knock on the door, and certainly the prospect of being struck off.
All this at a time when parents in Birmingham have been subjected to a court injunction to prevent them protesting against the decision of their children’s primary school actively to teach their children about homosexuality and transgenderism. Children aged five, in a state primary school, officially and statutorily. And this is even before social media has got to the children. It’s yet another instance of the total, even deliberate, failure of the responsible to protect the young and vulnerable.
Where are all the responsible carers, familial or official? Maybe they’re all too busy on their smartphones. Just watch them at PMQs – who’s listening? They’re all glued to their Twitter feed. Just watch mums on buses, with kids in push chairs. Talking to them? I wish. Too busy on their phones. And in all the schools – how many have actually banned smartphones from the premises?
So many of this entitled generation have opted out and succumbed to media and child pester. Just as MPs and bureaucrats are staunch Remainers – let Brussels sort it out. And lazy parents – let the school sort it out. And then the children themselves – well, social media will just have to sort it out . . .
Except it doesn’t. And it seems to be driving us – our children especially – insane. Where is the call, the perceived need, for people to take personal responsibility? Maybe it’s time for them all to listen to Professor Peterson, and start to tidy their room.