“Not a young person escapes concerns about what is happening on social networks”, warns psychiatrist Serge Hefez


Teens “bathe” in violence, “they all talk about it”, assured on franceinfo Serge Hefez, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, head of the family therapy unit in the child and adolescent psychiatry department at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. He returned to the death of Alisha, 14, pushed into the Seine by two comrades against a background of harassment, on March 8. “I believe that there is not a teenager who does not escape at one time or another from concerns, even from very strong anguish around what is being played on social networks “, relates Serge Hefez.

For the psychiatrist, adolescents are confronted increasingly young with violence but the epidemic accentuates the phenomenon: “We are in a psychiatric wave which is linked to the epidemic, explains Serge Hefez. There is a lot of anguish and stress, depression for the young people and their parents ”. It also evokes “an extremely strong increase in conjugal and family violence, an increase in the consumption of alcohol, tranquilizers, etc. So all of this is a climate in which young people and those who already have a little aptitude for conspiracy theories or to violence, well this violence sometimes explodes “, continues the psychoanalyst.

“Beyond the issues of harassment, there are increasingly strong explosions of violence taking place everywhere. Without wanting to excuse these young people, it seems difficult to me not to link this particularly anxiety-provoking climate to the Covid epidemic . We have known since the Middle Ages and the plague epidemic, to what extent epidemics are conducive to both violence and the designation of scapegoats “, insists Serge Hefez.

At the same time as the anguish felt because of the pandemic, young people find themselves less in contact with others: “With the various confinements and curfews, young people are much more at home and therefore much more isolated. They are therefore much more confronted with screens even than in ordinary times: they will have a tendency to see certain images in a loop and to have only these virtual links as social links “, details the psychiatrist.

These virtual contacts “dehumanize, because we are not in carnal contact with the other. And therefore the other loses a little his quality of being human”, analyzes the psychiatrist. This context favors “the circulation of secrets, alliances between one and the other which can go wrong. Two people can find themselves bound, for example, by an extremely violent pact that they will put into action outside”, continues Serge Hefez.

Far from stopping to cover these tragedies in the media, the psychiatrist suggests rather than simply reporting the facts, to “talking almost every day about harassment issues: there is real prevention to be done with young people and institutions to put words into what young people experience on a daily basis. However, we still have the feeling that harassment has a side that is still a little secret, a little ashamed “. Talking more about it would “to put a lot more words on it and to allow the young people to maybe talk about it more”, concludes Serge Hefez.

In the event of cyberstalking, a platform exists to request help and advice: 0 800 200 200.


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