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Mental Health Monday: AI used as new form of bullying – How to intervene

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – Fake artificial intelligence images are flooding social media used as a new form of bullying.

Online sleuths are creating digitally altered images called 'Deepfakes' to spread false information which can potentially damage mental health.

These images, most times pornographic, have become very popular with celebrities, and now they are being used to intimidate, embarrass and discredit the every day user on social media.

Dr. Matthew Larsen, a Psychiatrist at Ascend Mental Health, says although he hasn't seen that problem locally, it does happen and could happen to anyone, especially high school teens.

There is growing fear that this trend could catch on more and more as A.I. becomes more accessible.

"A picture hurts so much more than words because words are easily dismissed and pictures just stick," Dr. Larsen said. "So if we think, well, that picture looks like they... were enjoying it, they were doing it, they were there on purpose, they showed up at that place, we did that thing; It hurts so much more because it's remembered so much longer. We're judged so harshly for it."

This new, damaging form of online bullying stresses the importance of remaining involved in your children's lives, especially if they are on social media.

Dr. Larsen says a good way to tell whether or not your child may be affected by online bullying is if they tend to suddenly shy away from activities or groups they once enjoyed. He suggests, "The biggest is trying to approach kids or other people with a way of saying, I care about you whether you did or not. Show me. Tell me what it was. Because then if they know them, telling you we're showing you is going to change their judgment of you or your judgment of them, it's a lot easier to say it and show it."

Idaho Governor Brad Little has recently signed a bill into law prohibiting content like this. It will punish people and hold them accountable for producing these harmful images. The law will take effect July 1.

Article Topic Follows: Mental Health Monday

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Kailey Galaviz

Kailey is a morning anchor and reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3


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