Munchausen by Internet

A VoiceBox Report
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Created by VoiceBox

Published on Apr 20, 2022
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At Voicebox, we strive to share the voices and concerns of young people, no matter the topic. Our research is guided entirely by the subjects raised to us by our content creators and youth ambassadors. Listening to the often ignored voices of young people has led us to create our latest research piece; Munchausen by Internet.

In recent months there has been growing concern about the increasing frequency at which young people online portray mental health problems which they do not have. Searches for “fake tourettes” and “fake DID” have shot up recently due to this trend that has flooded social media.

The development of this trend poses a number of questions for young people, social media companies, and mental health professionals alike. Why might someone fake a disorder online? How may this harm the content creator and their viewers? If there is harm, what can be done to mitigate it, and by whom? Is this “faking” a mental health problem online a symptom of its own mental health problem, Munchausen by Internet? These are the questions we explore in our report.

Once again, our research is guided entirely by our growing community of young people, and we do our best to unpack the topics brought to us, regardless of their complexity or delicacy, with care, balance and understanding. Given the difficult topics explored in this piece, many organisations refused to add to the conversation out of fear of backlash, but this only proved to us how important it was to perform this research. As such, we thank the young people, experts, and organisations who were willing to help guide our research.

To read the full report click here

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