Campaigners have called on internet firms to take responsibility for the mental health of its users.
Mental health charity SANE is leading the calls as part of Safer Internet Day, a campaign today which aims to promote ‘responsible use of technology.’
Marjorie Wallace, Chief executive of SANE and journalist, believes that constant exposure to social media could potentially be destructive on the youth of today.
She said: “Today’s young generation has to content with the power of the internet, the influence of ‘virtual friends’, the way in which 24/7 exposure to social media can have a potentially destructive effect.”
Ms Wallace’s claims are backed up by a study Royal Society for Public Health, and the Young Health Movement which revealed Instagram as the worst social media platform for young people’s mental health.
Today is #InternetSafetyDay. Internet firms need to take responsibility for the mental health of those who use their sites, and help them to navigate these online spaces more safely and signpost those in need to reliable sources of support. RT if you agree. pic.twitter.com/FTzjH7Y0TM— SANE (@CharitySANE) February 6, 2018
The report called for measures to help protect users of social media platforms, a staggering 91% of 16-24-year-olds in the UK use the internet and other social networking sites regularly.
It has seen rates of anxiety and depression in young people soar by up to 70% over the last 25 years.
Speaking to Happiful Magazine in December, Childline boss Dame Esther Rantzen condemned cyber bullying and the effect of social media on young people.
She said: “What the counsellors are telling us is social media – the illusion that it makes everyone feel a failure because they’re not attractive enough, they’re not beautiful enough, they haven’t got as many likes as their friends, or whether they are talking online about self-harming in a way that it provides a relief from pain.
“I don’t know. I find it incomprehensible myself, because I never came across it as a child. I don’t understand it.”