RELIANCE on social media has raised concern for potential consequences on children’s mental health.
A study within the last 4 years found that using Facebook makes people feel worse about themselves.
Now the NSPCC’s ChildLine released that it has given 5,103 counselling sessions to children affected by cyberbullying, which has doubled in the last 5 years.
Children are using the internet from a younger age now, and growing up in a digital society this generation have become reliant on social media.
This has led to a rise in cyberbullying which children are unable to cope with.
Cyber bullying is contributing to children’s poor mental health, causing issues such as low self-esteem, depression and suicidal thoughts.
This has caused NSPCC to call on ministers to put into place protection for children from online abuse.
A 17-year-old boy spoke about a previous experience he had with cyber bullying and said: “It is sad because a long time ago I posted a picture of myself on social media, and I got so much hate for it. I didn’t know it then but it was probably cyberbullying. That really brought my mental health down. Social media isn’t good for me but I want to talk to my friends so I can’t get rid of it.”
If a child is replacing social interaction with social media this can cause isolation and symptoms of depression.
There are warnings that social media is a trap and its dominance, and our need to be a part of it, is contributing to poor mental health.
A 15-year-old girl added: “After looking at Instagram I just feel worse about myself, I struggle enough with what I look like without having that added pressure. Yet I always find myself picking my phone up to use Instagram. It’s like I am addicted. I like it but I don’t.”
These problems have been heightened by the fears that Snapchat will bring back the ‘best friends’ feature.
When the social media app originally had this feature, it was a cause of unnecessary friendship drama and was known for being controversial.
This feature is a worry for the already increasing numbers of children reporting mental health issues because of social media apps.
Social Media has a different effect for those having to use it in the work place.
Em Jenkins, a blogger and theatre review writer explains his experiences.
by Kathryn Waller (@kathrynwallerx)