Online Emo Groups and Your Teen

Emo is a term that originated to describe a specific musical style – a hardcore emotional punk style of music popular with teenagers and young adults. It has evolved, however, to describe an entire teen subculture. Emo, short for “emotional”, is a subculture focusing on the dark, painful emotions experienced by those suffering from depression. Members often join online groups to discuss their feelings, music, and day-to-day lives. The “emo” lifestyle is associated with depression, self injury, and suicide.

Emo has been linked with teenage suicides and self harm, and tends to sensationalize this type of behavior. More and more schools are regulating dress codes to forbid emo clothing, makeup, and hairstyles. This adds to group members feelings of being ostracized, fueling the flame. Self-mutilation and self-harming behavior are at an all time high, with teenagers cutting themselves and then displaying their wounds on their blogs.

The morbid lifestyle is glamourized on the internet through chat rooms, forums, and blogs. Emo teens, who see themselves as younger, trendier versions of their older goth counterparts, can be found sharing music, discussing self-injury, and researching fashion trends and suicide methods in multiple tabs. Suicide and depression aren’t seen as problems to be treated, but as lifestyle choices to be embraced.

As you can image, these new trends are scary for parents, but also difficult to nail down. It can be hard to tell if your teenager is genuinely depressed, or simply playing up their feelings to be popular with their peers. The internet can exacerbate real symptoms, by making it easier than ever for teens to interact with other like minded individuals.

If you feel that your teenager may be part of an online emo group, monitor his or her internet usage carefully. Groups such as these can be cult-like, encouraging members to participate in harmful behavior. Sometimes, members even earn “points” for self-harmful behavior, increasing the appeal. Poetry contests are held to determine the saddest poem, the best suicide note, and more. For an already depressed teenager, sites such as these can greatly increase symptoms.

If you need help addressing your teenager’s internet behavior, or find alarming content posted on the internet by your teen, you may want to consult a mental health professional. It can be difficult for parents to determine i

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