‘Use so­cial me­dia in mod­er­a­tion’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

EN­GAGE­MENT in so­cial me­dia plat­forms such as Twit­ter and Face­book can build up chil­dren’s re­silience and have a ben­e­fi­cial im­pact on men­tal well-be­ing, a new study sug­gests, despite pre­vi­ous warn­ings to the con­trary.

Anal­y­sis of ev­i­dence from Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co-op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD) data, by re­searchers from the UK’s Na­tional So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to Chil­dren (NSPCC) and other in­de­pen­dent stud­ies into the ef­fects of tech­nol­ogy on young peo­ple, found that us­ing so­cial me­dia helped chil­dren to de­velop so­cial skills, col­lab­o­rate bet­ter with peers and ac­cess help and emo­tional sup­port more eas­ily.

Teenagers with men­tal health prob­lems are also in­creas­ingly likely to seek sup­port from char­i­ties such as Child­line through the in­ter­net, re­searchers noted.

Their re­port, pub­lished by the Ed­u­ca­tion Pol­icy In­sti­tute (EPI), fol­lows a com­mit­ment made by the prime min­is­ter in the Queen’s Speech to make men­tal health a govern­ment pri­or­ity, amid grow­ing con­cern of a “cri­sis” in schools and uni­ver­si­ties.

“Stud­ies have also iden­ti­fied some ev­i­dence of a ben­e­fi­cial im­pact on well-be­ing, and young peo­ple recog­nise the value of op­por­tu­ni­ties to con­nect on­line,” re­searchers con­cluded.

There are, how­ever, sev­eral risks in­volved for teenagers cor­re­spond­ing on­line, in­clud­ing in­creased risk of cyber bul­ly­ing, shar­ing of pri­vate con­tent and ac­cess to harm­ful con­tent.

More than a third of 15-yearolds in the UK can be classed as “ex­treme in­ter­net users”, spend­ing more than six hours on­line a day, markedly higher than the av­er­age of OECD coun­tries. Young peo­ple in the UK are also ex­ten­sive users of so­cial me­dia sites, with 94.8% of Bri­tish 15-year-olds us­ing so­cial me­dia be­fore or af­ter school, slightly above the OECD av­er­age.

The ev­i­dence points towards a cor­re­la­tion be­tween ex­treme use of so­cial me­dia and harm­ful ef­fects on young peo­ple’s well-be­ing. Those classed as “ex­treme in­ter­net users” were more likely to re­port be­ing bul­lied (17.8%) than mod­er­ate in­ter­net users (6.7%).

Mod­er­ate use of so­cial me­dia was ad­vised, there­fore, with more re­search to un­der­stand the “causal re­la­tion­ship” be­tween so­cial net­work­ing and prob­lems with men­tal health.

Govern­ment min­is­ters have been un­able to keep up with the fast-chang­ing na­ture of the web, EPI an­a­lysts added, mean­ing that re­sponses to pro­tect and build re­silience in young peo­ple are “in­ad­e­quate and of­ten out­dated”.

“This re­port points to the need for a greater un­der­stand­ing of how to build re­silience in young peo­ple as they nav­i­gate this rel­a­tively un­charted ter­ri­tory,” said David Laws, ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of the EPI. – The In­de­pen­dent

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.