Posted by Molly Zoeller, The Prince’s Trust
The young people that come to us face many different challenges, with loneliness sadly becoming an increasingly common theme – but to what extent is social media the cause of this?
Many young people tell us how social media is detaching them from society, taking them into a world where they socialise in their rooms, behind their phones. By not meeting friends in real life, they find it hard to build meaningful connections. Their self-worth is based on the number of friends they have on their social media accounts, the ‘likes’ they get and how their life compares with that of their online friends. Many report feeling that their sense of real-life community and belonging are fading, leaving them feeling increasingly isolated.
We want our work with the Belong project to help address this issue. We hear feedback from young people that they want more opportunities for face to face contact, which is what we provide as part of this initiative. However, we worry about young people in the longer-term, once they have moved on from the project (this may be more relevant for The Prince’s Trust as we run short programmes, rather than longer-term groups with sustained engagement). How do we help young people deal with the negative effects of social media and the feelings of loneliness it can bring? Do any of you deliver specific social media resilience training? Or have any tips on how best to equip young people to have a healthy relationship with social media?
Comments would be very welcome, thanks!