MPs investigate impact of social media and screens on youth

girl on phone

Are you concerned about the impact social media and screen-use are having on young people? If so, MPs are looking to hear your thoughts.

The Commons Science and Technology Committee has announced an inquiry into the impact of social media and screen-use on young people’s health.

The committee says it wants to hear the views of young people themselves, as well as of teachers and youth workers.

Chairman Norman Lamb said it was vital to assess the benefits and risks.

“Social media and smartphones are increasingly being used by children and young people,” he said.

“We want to determine the scale of the issues – separating out the understandable concerns from the hard evidence, and to identify what practical measures people are already taking to boost the benefits and blunt the potential harms.

“We want to hear from schools and young people, as well as from the industry and government.”

  • Children at ‘significant’ social media risk
  • Is social media making your child sad?
  • Screens and eyesight: What can parents do?

Mr Lamb says the committee is particularly keen to hear details of any initiatives undertaken, by children, schools and youth organisations, to help young people cope with the demands of the digital world.

Other issues the MPs would welcome thoughts on include:

  • the wellbeing benefits from social media usage, including any apps that provide mental-health benefits to users
  • the physical or mental harms from social media use and screen-use, including safety risks and the extent of any addictive behaviour
  • any measures being used, or needed, to mitigate any potential harmful effects of excessive screen-use
  • what monitoring, controls or regulation are needed and where responsibility and accountability should lie for such measures
  • areas that should be the focus of any further research

Those who would like to submit written views should do so – in no more than 3,000 words – through the committee’s inquiry page by 6 April.

The Education Policy Institute’s 2017 report showed 95% of 15-year-olds in the UK use social media before or after school, and half of nine to 16-year-olds used smart-phones on a daily basis.

And England’s children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, warned in January that the move from primary to secondary school was problematic for children because social media became more important in their lives.

Her report into the effects of social media on eight to 12-year-old children said many were over-dependent on “likes” and comments for social validation.