The National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has obtained data under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) that 18,778 children aged between 11 to 18 were admitted to hospital for self-harm in 2015-16 in Britain.
This is an increase from the 2013-14 figure (16,416) and represents a 14 percent rise. The most likely segment to be impacted were teenagers, ages 13-17, who were more likely to end up in hospital for self-harm, such as cutting, overdosing on pills or burning themselves.
According to the NSPCC the reason for the increased numbers of children self-harming is due to social media. Figures from Childline's, a counselling helpline run by the NSPCC, shows that they delivered 18,471 counselling sessions about self-harm in 2015.
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said that children are self-harming in order to deal with issues in their lives, many of which have been caused by social media.
"A frightening number of children and teenagers are being driven to self-harm as a way of dealing with unresolved feelings, tensions and distress in their lives," Mr. Wanless told Sputnik.
A recent online study by Bullying UK has revealed that 56 percent of young people had suffered abuse online and 47 percent felt unsafe when they went online. These figures show that online bullying of young people is rife and could be leading to dire consequences.
The President of Childline, Dame Esther Rantzen called the latest figures from the NSPCC "deeply concerning" and said that more must be done to help and stop children from harming themselves.
"It's deeply disturbing that so many children and young people are ending up in hospital because they are injuring themselves so seriously. Self-harming is at epidemic level among young people, at Childline we hear from them every day," Dame Ranzen said in an online statement.
"It has become one of the most common problems young people bring to us, and I know from our counselors that these are some of the most painful stories we hear. Often the young people feel too ashamed and fearful to seek help from those around them, until they harm themselves so badly they have to be rushed to hospital," Dame Ranzen added.
Social media is meant to be a tool that aids conversation and peer dialogue. However, with online bullying, trolling and abuse directed at young people, social networks have turned into a playground of abuse, which may get worse if not addressed.