Social media and children’s mental health

By Emily Frith

In a new report, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has examined the evidence of the impact of using social media on young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.  The analysis, Social media and children’s mental health: a review of the evidence, scrutinises the latest evidence on the digital lives of young people, the benefits and risks associated with using social media, and the evolving nature of technology. The report finds that limiting children’s use of the internet will not protect them against any harms associated with social media. While the research highlights several risks linked with social media use, and while figures show young people have some of the highest rates of internet use in the developed world, the report finds that restricting usage can prevent children gaining the key digital skills and emotional resilience needed to combat such risks. The analysis calls for further research, in order to understand the causal relationship between social networking and mental health and wellbeing problems. It also calls upon policy-makers to explore the development of resilience in young people, rather than focusing just on simply safeguarding – in order to support their mental health and emotional wellbeing, and their safe participation in increasingly complex digital environments.

Read the full report