Research Seminar Series: ABC hosts Dr. Esther Martínez Pastor

Research Seminar Series: ABC hosts Dr. Esther Martínez Pastor

Dr. Esther Martínez Pastor, professor at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, delivers a presentation on her research project titled “Media Representation of Self-harm among Minors in the Media and Networks”. Dr. Pastor’s project focuses on self-harm among young people, as our knowledge on young people’s experiences is relatively unknown.

Key facts

  • From 24 November 2022 to 9 January 2023, 700 tweets per day on self-harm were confirmed in a sample of 8,914 users and 32,231 tweets related to incidents of self-harm.
  • From 350 hours of news programmes from media networks, such as TVE, Antena 3, La Sexta and Tele 5, findings show that 30 minutes of information on self-harm were detected in 20 news programmes, which represents 0.14% of the total television programmes.
  • Of the 2.700 hours of content released by Netflix in 2022, there were only 11 series and 12 characters linked to self-harm, a very small percentage of the platform’s total broadcasts.
  • The self-harm messages (in social media networks) are accompanied by very childish images such as pink knives with puppy prints, user profiles with kittens, messages with childish language, funny emoticons, etc.

Presenting the results of the research project, Dr. Pastor said: “We have been struck by the fact that young people in our university environment know many friends and family members who self-harm or have done so in the past, compared to adults who are generally surprised by this phenomenon because they do not know about it  and think it is not a risk for their children.”

“There is no real proportion between what is reported in the media and what is disseminated on social media networks. The representation of self-harm in the media is scarce compared to the numerous messages that appear on social networks disseminated by people who self- harm. Perhaps this is the reason for the lack of information about this phenomenon among adults.”

“There should be greater control over this content by social networks and greater informative treatment of this issue.”

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