UK Teens Say They're Sick of Social Media

Two-thirds of the kids said they wouldn't mind if social media had never been invented. Yeah, right...

Kids using social media
Photo: nelen/Shutterstock

Are teenagers sick of social media? It certainly doesn't seem that way when you scroll through apps like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and see them documenting their lives 24/7. Or when you look around at any sporting event or extracurricular activity and watch them with their heads buried in their phones.

But according to the results from a new poll out of the UK, these same kids admit that social media is having a negative impact on their emotional well-being. In fact, two-thirds copped to being disillusioned by the negative aspects of social apps and said they wouldn't mind if it had never been invented. And 71 percent said they had even taken temporary digital detox to escape it.

Those numbers seems high, right? But get this: The survey of 5,000 students—commissioned by Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC)—revealed that 57 percent of the kids had received abusive comments online, 56 percent admitted to being on the edge of addiction, and 52 percent said social media made them feel less confident about how they look or how interesting their lives are.

So sad! And while more than 60 percent said they believe their friends showed a "fake version" of themselves online, 85 percent of the kids denied they were guilty of doing it themselves. Hmmm.

The feedback was not all negative. The students said they liked thinsg like memes, Snapchat Stories and filters/lenses. Because who doesn't want to throw-up rainbows, right? But even so, 55 percent would like to see more creative content, 61 percent want less fake news, and 49 percent would like greater privacy.

"This research is a real wake-up call for all of us working in social media to ensure that we listen to the needs of young people, who will ultimately dictate the direction in which the industry moves," explained Digital Awareness UK co-founder Charlotte Robertson. "Social media allows us to be creative, connected, to campaign for things we believe in, to become entrepreneurs. It's a platform that should be celebrated and if online abuse or fake news stops it from flourishing we all lose."

The bottom line is that while our kids may say they wish social sharing didn't exist, the majority of them will never delete their accounts. So in order to help keep them safe and teach them how to use all these apps in a more positive way, check out the Live My Digital video series from Digital Awareness UK.

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Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website for more, and then follow her on Instagram

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