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Social media ‘wouldn’t be missed’ say 63% of kids

NEARLY two-thirds of school pupils would not care if social media did not exist, a study found.

Some 71 per cent of them also said they had taken digital detox breaks to escape from social media.

More than half (57 per cent) of pupils quizzed said they had received abusive comments online, 56 per cent admitted to being on the edge of social media addiction, and 52 per cent said it makes them feel less confident about their looks or how interesting their life is.

While more than 60 per cent believed friends show a ‘fake version’ of themselves on social media, 85 per cent of pupils questioned by Digital Awareness UK on behalf of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference denied doing that themselves.

The feedback was not all negative, with pupils identifying memes, filters/lenses and storytelling features, such as Snapchat Stories, among the things they like about social media.

Asked to recommend improvements, they suggested less advertising (71 per cent), less fake news (61 per cent), more creative content (55 per cent) and greater privacy (49 per cent).

Charlotte Robertson, of Digital Awareness UK, said it was ‘a matter of concern to see the emotional impact social media is having on young people’s health and well-being’ but it was encouraging some were using ‘smart strategies such as digital detoxing’.

Samantha Price, head of Benenden, a private boarding school for girls in Kent, said she had been worried about how pupils would cope with a three-day ‘phone fast’. Afterwards the pupils were ‘wondering what all the fuss had been about,’ she revealed.