Is social media a dangerous risk to young people or a powerful support network? Have your say
In the last few days, there have been a number of stories reported in the press - with conflicting messages about the impact of social media use on the lives of young people.
The latest round of news began with an announcement from the Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri. Facebook-owned Instagram is going to test hiding "like" counts as a way to make "a less pressurized environment" on the app. This feature comes as part of efforts at Instagram to combat online bullying which is said to plague younger users of the platform.
Social media firms have been under increased pressure from the government to tackle the risks posed online, and this was supported by an announcement by Candida Reece, of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), who this week tabled a motion at the union’s annual conference committing it to a campaign for the introduction of a statutory duty of care to protect children from online harms and toughen age verification checks. She added that social media firms should face a levy to pay schools for teaching children traumatised online.
However, in a small study of participants aged 11 to 18, it would seem that teenagers do not necessarily perceive potential risks on social media as such. On the matter of online abuse, it was reported that "many children doubted there would be any serious consequences for social media abusers. The report suggested that teenagers might not report online abuse because they often don't see it as a problem"
At the same time, TalkTalk's Teenage Loneliness and Technology Report revealed that half of teenagers believe that social media and the internet makes them feel less lonely. Conversely, just a few days later, results from a study of 12,000 UK adolescents revealed that the use of social media had little effect on the well-being and life satisfaction of teenagers.