The Prince’s Trust published a new piece of research recently, where they linked an increase in young people’s unhappiness and anxiety with social media use.
Just under half of the young people surveyed said that social media makes them feel “inadequate”. More than half (57%) thought that social media creates “overwhelming pressure” to succeed.
Adolescence is a time when the need to belong and fit in with a peer group is naturally very strong. But previous generations were able to take a bit of a breather from friendship angst by coming home and spending time with their families. It’s not hard to see how the smartphone generation might struggle with constant access to peer pressure 24/7.
This survey by the National Citizen Service found that social media also fuels teenagers’ negative feelings about their own bodies – by comparing themselves to images of their peers, not just celebrities.
The evidence on social media use is mixed at the moment. Recent research is suggesting that, while social media can have positive effects for young people, it can also be stressful and exhausting for those who feel the pressure to keep up with their friends – even having an effect on their mental health.
Social media, image and online peer pressure are all topics we explore in schools at our REAL workshops.