Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Emo panic hits Malta

Sound familiar.... look like one incident has generated a media bubble of lies and distortion. A few kids self harm and suddenly an entire genre of music is to blame. People self-harmed before emo was popular it is not some teenage fad but a serious condition.

Fear for emo kids

di-ve news -- 12 November 2007

ZEJTUN, Malta (di-ve news) -- November 12, 2007 -- 1320CEST -- Several Maltese teenagers are being drawn to a youth subculture which actively promotes self-harm. The latest teen fad is called 'emo', short for 'emotional'.

This is an angst-filled culture which is characterised by youths wearing dark attire, dying their hair black and having long black nails. Such teens are often negative about life and some of them even cut themselves. Such a phenomenon in Malta is a growing concern as incidences of teens inflicting harm on themselves are increasing.

A few weeks ago, a 12-year-old girl in a Junior Lyceum slashed her wrist with a knife in an all-girls collective blood pact and had to be hospitalised as she had lost a lot of blood.

However, the seriousness of the incident came to light after teachers discovered the scars of the other girls. What is surprising is that this angst-filled teen comes from a stable home and that she managed to hide her scars from her parents, who are both professionals. [Ed: A fact which is not surprising at all if you actually read ANYTHING about self-harm but hey journalists are busy people.]

After this incident, the students have been instructed to keep their nails short, while teachers are searching bags for knives and compasses. Parents are particularly concerned because the subculture is spreading steadily over the internet, and thus their children could easily come across the concept and get entangled into it.

[Ed. Is it just me or does this photo seem POSED? Possibly even sensational.]

An investigation made by uncovered a trail of internet-based local emo message boards on Hi5.

The Malta Union of Teachers president John Bencini said that the union was not informed about the case.

On their part, the Ministry of Education confirmed the story. However questions sent to the Education Department a month ago remained unanswered despite the numerous follow ups.

We asked if the problem was well-spread amongst Maltese students. We also asked what precautions were teachers encouraged to take and, if notwithstanding such precautions such a case does occur, what they must do.

Furthermore, we also asked if the girls involved in the incident had been counselled and monitored, whether access to internet was harmful to children and how could the parents deduct their children had embraced the subculture.

Education counselling service tackles emos in schools
by -
Local News -- 27 November 2007 -- 11:30CEST
The latest teen fad to spread across local schools is the emo sub-culture, which has generated concern following the reports that self-harm is actively promoted amongst the youths who are often characterised by anger and negativity.
A few weeks ago, exclusively revealed that one particular female student in a Junior Lyceum had to be hospitalised after losing a lot of blood when she slashed her wrist in a collective blood pact.

The concern over the incident had grown even more after teachers discovered the scars on the other girls.

The report was also picked up by various other local media, which followed up the story.

Meanwhile, caught up with an official spokesperson within the Ministry for Education, who confirmed that the incident took place, adding that immediate action had been taken accordingly in all the cases that had been reported.

“When a school notices that a student is having difficulty or experiencing a situation that is potentially harmful to their development, action is taken in various forms. One service that is offered is the Guidance and Counselling Service, where a student is followed by professionals and work is also done with the family.

”The school at times also refers students to outside agencies who may be able to give a more specialised psychological service if this is needed. Students are then monitored for any progress or regression that may occur,” the spokesperson said.

As yet, there is no scientific study that shows the extent to which the emo subculture has spread in the local schools, but the Ministry for Education has only received a few individual reports.

Such trends are common amongst adolescents, and new fads and modes of behaviours appear in schools from time to time.

Whilst pointing out that all schools have a trained counsellor who works on prevention and intervention, the spokesperson said that in those schools where the emo situation was felt to be present, parents and staff were given information on how to recognise the phenomenon, its consequences, how to handle such situations and where to refer for help through an information session that also included a power-point presentation.

Teachers are advised to consult with their Head of School or guidance and counselling team if they notice, have evidence or strongly suspect that a student is going through a particular difficulty or is in need for help, other than academic support.

“It is to be stressed that such trends often manifest deeper psychological or emotional trauma or difficulties, and what is important is to understand the core reason for engaging in such behaviour,” the spokesperson further told

Given that the internet is probably the main source from where the emo subculture is being derived -- and therefore it is relatively easy for the students to come across and get entangled into it -- the spokesperson was asked whether access to the internet is harmful to children.

However, he dismissed such an argument and stressed on the need of educating students to evaluate and critically think about the consequences of their decisions and behaviour, including the way in which they use the internet.

”Like everything else in life, all tools can be extremely useful but may also be abused of. Medicine is a wonderful ‘tool’ for healing the human being; however, mankind has managed to abuse of this in the form of substance abuse. The internet is a wonderful educational tool, however, has also been manipulated and can be harmful if misused.

“The solution is not to remove internet access but to educate the responsible adults on how to monitor their children,” he concluded.


ICeman said...

Emo is a music genre/style, self harming is an activity that everyone can do, not matter if they listen emo, classical music or folk. There's no cause and effect on it.
There are people who self harm that listen pop (i knew a cutter that was a Hanson fan) and people who listen emo and don't cut themselves, like me.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of emo kids that cut. There are many that suggest that this is the cause of the increase in self injury in recent years. Please take a look at This site reviews what emo kids post on the web. Pretty convincing if you ask me.