Social media damages teenagers’ mental health, report says

Teenagers’ mental health is being damaged by heavy social media use, a report has found.

Research from the Education Policy Institute and The Prince’s Trust said wellbeing and self-esteem were similar in all children of primary school age.

It found boys and girls’ wellbeing is affected at the age of 14, but girls’ mental health drops more after that.

A lack of exercise is another contributing factor – exacerbated by the pandemic, the study said.

According to the research, one in three girls was unhappy with their personal appearance by the age of 14, compared with one in seven at the end of primary school.

The number of young people with probable mental illness has risen to one in six, up from one in nine in 2017. Boys in the bottom set at primary school had lower self-esteem at 14 than their peers.

The wellbeing of both genders fell during adolescence, with girls experiencing a greater decline, the report said.

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