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Jessica Pater: Digital Self Harm

Friday, January 27 at 11:30 a.m. in TBD


Self-harm is the infliction of pain or injury onto oneself and is most commonly found in adolescent and young adult populations. Though historically these behaviors were relegated to the fringes of communities, information technology now enables new ways to foster and encourage these dangerous activities.  This talk will trace the intersections of communication practices within these populations and the manifestations and characterizations of self-harm behaviors associated with eating disorders within the online social domain. I will purpose the concept of digital self-harm as the online communication and activity that leads to, supports, or exacerbates, specific non-suicidal yet intentional harm or impairment of an individual’s physical wellbeing and highlight a research agenda that focuses on understanding the correlation and possible causation of offline self-harm behaviors due to online activities, and to design and assess technologies focused on prevention, mitigation and treatment.

CAUTION: This talk includes media that could potentially be triggering to those dealing with an eating disorder or with other self-harm related illnesses. Please use caution when attending the talk.

About Jessica Pater

Jessica Pater is a Research Scientist II at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and a PhD student in the Everyday Computing Lab in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. In her 10 years at GTRI, her research has focused on the communication patterns of teens, the use of technology in health applications that support an array of community health issues within vulnerable populations, and technology policy. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the United States Army Medical and Information Commands, the Georgia Office of Student Achievement, the National Council for Disabilities, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, and several local school systems and community programs. Her dissertation research is focused on understanding how eating disordered behaviors are characterized within social media platforms and how these behaviors are understood and incorporated into clinical practice.