The term “victim Olympics” is often used to describe a system of made-up oppression whereby members of Social Justice communities constantly try to one-up each other by claiming to be more oppressed than the other… often by sending themselves death threats and hateful messages. We have all known for a while that a lot of these hate messages were self generated, we just never had the statistical evidence to back it up…. until now.
Ever so often, you read in the news about some hatefully racist message having been written in some school’s washroom or on its website, only for police investigations to reveal that the messages were actually written by a black student…. to prove a point, I guess?
Recently, a story of a girl who had been driven to suicide after receiving a barrage of hate messages was making the waves and begun an online conversation about online harassment, only for investigations to reveal that the hateful messages she had received actually came from her own computer (Yes, she sent hateful messages to herself, got offended by them and then killed herself.)
These type of stories are so prevalent these days that they should get their own section in the morning news.
A recent study by a group of researchers from Florida Atlantic University has shown that at least 1 out of every 20 Internet users who claim to have been cyber-bullied were the perpetrators of their own alleged bullying. This rising trend seems to be most prevalent among teenagers between 12 and 17 years, 6% of whom have cyber bullied themselves.
The research also shows that teenagers who identify as non-heterosexual (gay, bisexual, asexual, queer, pansexual, demisexual, etc) are 3 times more likely to cyber-bully themselves than regular folk.
IMAGINE MY SHOCK
About 6% of kids from the ages of 12 through 17 have bullied themselves digitally, according to research conducted by Sameer Hinduja, a professor of criminology at Florida Atlantic University and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “It’s a new phenomenon, and this is definitely happening” for teens across the U.S., Hinduja said. “We have a tendency to demonize the aggressor, but in some cases, maybe one out of 20, the aggressor and target are the same.”
Many  sites like Tumblr and the now defunct Formspring also have had an anonymous question feature, which could allow teens to anonymously send themselves hurtful messages and then publicly respond. Researchers are calling this behavior “digital self-harm.” Teens who identified as non-heterosexual were three times more likely to bully themselves online, while victims of cyberbullying were 12 times more likely to cyberbully themselves.
A strong link already exists between physical self-harm and suicide attempts, and researchers are concerned that the same connection could exist with digital self-harm. “It could betray suicidal tendencies and lead to suicidal behavior down the line if it’s not addressed,” Hinduja said. This is concerning because teen suicide rates have been steadily climbing over the past decade. The suicide rate for girls ages 15-19 doubled from 2007 to 2015, reaching its highest point in 40 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.