#NewFilters to manage the impact of social media on young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Inquiry: “Managing the Impact of Social Media on Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing”

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing has published its report on the Group’s Inquiry, “#NewFilters to manage the impact of social media on young people’s mental health and wellbeing”.

This is the first national Inquiry specifically examining the impact of social media on the mental health and wellbeing of young people, which ran from April 2018 to January 2019. 

The report explores the positive and negative health impacts of social media, as well as putting forward recommendations to protect young social media users from potential health harms. 

 

Chris Elmore MP, Chair of the APPG on Social Media on Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing and Niamh McDade, Senior Campaigns & Communications Executive at RSPH will be discussing the findings of this report in greater detail in the upcoming webinar.

Almost

two thirds

of young people reported social media to be a good source of health information

Four in five of the UK public

believe tighter regulation is needed to address the impact of social media on the health and wellbeing of young people

Children who spend more than

three hours a day

using social media are twice as likely to display symptoms of mental ill health

What the APPG are calling for

The APPG has put forward a number of policy recommendations, including:
  • Establish a duty of care on all social media companies with registered UK users aged 24 and under in the form of a statutory code of conduct, with Ofcom to act as regulator
  • Create a Social Media Health Alliance, funded by a 0.5% levy on the profits of social media companies, to fund research, educational initiatives and establish clearer guidance for the public
  • Review whether the “addictive” nature of social media is sufficient for official disease classification
  • Urgently commission robust, longitudinal research, into understanding the extent to which the impact of social media on young people’s mental health and wellbeing is one of cause or correlation

Chris Elmore MP, Chair of the APPG on Social Media on Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing said: "I truly think our report is the wakeup call needed to ensure - finally - that meaningful action is taken to lessen the negative impact social media is having on young people's mental health. 

For far too long social media companies have been allowed to operate in an online Wild West. And it is in this lawless landscape that our children currently work and play online. This cannot continue. As the report makes clear, now is the time for the government to take action. 

The recommendations from our Inquiry are both sensible and reasonable; they would make a huge difference to the current mental health crisis among our young people."

Related RSPH policy

#StatusofMind

RSPH and the Young Health Movement have published a new report examining the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health