Social media and young people: Scottish advice package announced

social media and young people
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Scotland’s Youth Parliament and Children’s Parliament have partnered to develop a package of advice for young people on their use of technology.

The package, which will be developed by young people in Scotland with £90,000 (€101,005) in funding from the Scottish Government, will include guidance on healthy levels of screentime and appropriate use of social media in the face of rising concerns about technology, social media and young people. Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) Chair Suki Wan MSYP said: “I am thrilled the Scottish Government have chosen SYP and the Children’s Parliament to co-produce a project which recognises young people’s health and wellbeing as a priority, and which is led by children and young people. It’s vital that this project happens now, as research into the impact of screen time and social media on our lives is beginning to take off. This resource will be of direct benefit to children and young people in 2019 and on the generations that follow – within and beyond Scotland.”

The development of a youth-led advice package on social media and young people, along with the newly-formed Body Image Advisory Group, form part of a range of measures implemented by the Scottish Government aiming to address mental health issues among young people. Research commissioned by the government identified social media, body image issues and sleep disruption as significant contributing factors to the mental health of Scotland’s young people.

Cathy McCulloch, Director of the Children’s Parliament, said: “Children’s Parliament is delighted to be working in partnership with the Scottish Youth Parliament on the important issue of healthy social media use and screen time. We are aware of the risks associated with screen and social media use; however, the digital environment offers children extraordinary new opportunities. Social media use is an important issue for children as well as young people and we are excited to support their crucial role in the production of this world-leading digital resource.”

Scottish Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said: “I’d like to congratulate the Scottish Youth Parliament and the Children’s Parliament for their successful application to produce this important work. Social media does have the potential to be used in a hugely positive way, but we want to ensure young people are properly informed on how social media promotes unrealistic expectations. We also want young people to know what the healthy use of social media platforms looks like. That’s why we have commissioned this advice which, crucially, is created by and for young people…We want all young people to be able to grow up in a modern Scotland with good mental wellbeing, and with the right support for issues that they say matter to them. Now is the time to address these issues head on.”

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