NASUWT comments on social media and children's mental health report

Posted On: 
3rd July 2017

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT - The Teachers' Union has commented on the Education Policy Institute's report Social Media and Children's Mental Health.

The NASUWT has been at the forefront of highlighting the risks and implications for children and young people of the increasing use of social media.

As the report highlights, social media can have many positive impacts for children and young people and has become an intrinsic part of most young people’s lives.

However, NASUWT research has found that 72% of teachers believe that social media pressures are creating or contributing to mental health issues in pupils. Teachers report that online bullying is common among their students and that pupils routinely use social media to share sexual or offensive images, videos and messages.

There is also a serious problem of pupils using social media to harass and abuse teachers-nearly a third of teachers in the NASUWT’s latest social media survey said they had received online abuse from pupils in the last year.

Perhaps more worryingly, half of those teachers who had been abused online had received this abuse from parents. Therefore, it is clear there also a need to educate parents as well as children about the responsible and safe use of social media.

While there is clearly a role for schools to play in helping pupils to develop these digital skills, and many schools are already doing valuable work in this area, schools need support, input from experts and the resources to help children and young people safely and sensibly navigate their online lives.