Young, lonely and hooked on so­cial me­dia

The Sunday Post (Dundee) - - OPINION -

Gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Tracey Couch said last week that lone­li­ness was a ma­jor health prob­lem af­fect­ing young peo­ple ev­ery bit as much as older folk.

I agree, and I blame most of our so­cial prob­lems these days on our ad­dic­tion to screens. There will be many young peo­ple spend­ing hours and hours in their rooms on their own in front of a com­puter on so­cial me­dia, fo­rums for their home­work or chat­ting vir­tu­ally rather than face to face.

There are so many neg­a­tive points so­cially with that and it’s a real chal­lenge.

The sense of lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion can be com­pounded by the sort of things they’re read­ing and watch­ing.

Peo­ple tend to only post the pos­i­tives on sites like Face­book and In­sta­gram, ‘Look where I am, look what I’ve bought.’ In fact, the world ac­cord­ing to so­cial me­dia looks great and of­ten doesn’t re­flect re­al­ity.

So, if we’re go­ing to try to tackle lone­li­ness, it’s up to par­ents to re­strict screen time for a start, and for schools to ban phones and get teenagers out and about de­vel­op­ing the so­cial skills they will need in adult life.

I’m a big be­liever in the power of school and com­mu­nity clubs that of­fer a sense of be­long­ing and in­ter­ac­tion. Whether it’s chess or cheer­lead­ing, it’s all about com­mu­ni­ca­tion, dis­ci­pline and team work.

Tracey Crouch

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