Wednesday, September 30, 2020
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Kids say life would be happier without social media

Young people are starting to push back against social media and the negative influences it can have on young lives, one study from the UK suggests. Some of the ill effects mentioned by students were fake news, inappropriate communications, and online cyberbullying.

(David Mulder / Flickr Creative Commons)

They’re “starting to acknowledge that this isn’t helping and is starting to impact their health and wellbeing in ways that they hadn’t recognized before,” the Telegraph quoted Charlotte Robertson as saying. She’s the co-founder of Digital Awareness UK, which carried out the research on behalf of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference.

The recent survey of 5,000 high school students found that 63 percent said they would not care if social media didn’t exist and 57 percent said they had received abusive comments online. The poll of independent and state school pupils in England also found 56 percent admitted to being on the edge of addiction to social media. Other key findings included:

  • Two thirds said they would be happy if social media had never been invented
  • 71% said they had taken temporary digital detoxes to escape social media
  • 52% said social media makes them feel less confident about how they look or how interesting their life is

The HMC represents top private schools, and in Belfast, where the survey results were presented, they acknowledged that many teachers are now working with students to introduce phone-free days or sessions.

But the results weren’t all negative. Kids said they liked some aspects of social media, including Snapchat Stories, memes, and filters and lenses used for storytelling.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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