Children should be taught social media etiquette and ethics

 Seventy-two per cent of teachers think children should be taught social media etiquette

Research by Nominet finds that 14 per cent of those born after 1997 say that their health has been negatively affected by social media.

The research, forming part of Nominet’s Digital Futures Index, finds that social media is having a negative effect on the youngest generation, with nearly one-in-ten (eight per cent) going as far as to say that social media has given them anxiety issues.

Teachers are recognising the problem, with nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) believing that social media etiquette and ethics should be taught in schools, yet only a minority (36 per cent) do so.
 
Many young peoples’ issues from social media could be driven by a number of concerns and worries, such as a pressure to impress their friends, dishonesty and bullying. The research found several underlying issues, for example 37 per cent of young people say they feel pressure to impress friends and followers online.

In addition, 59 per cent say they know somebody who has been bullied online, while 20 per cent say they have been the victim of online bullying.

One in ten young people born after 1997 also admit to putting something online that has upset a friend, with more than 12 per cent admitting to being critical about somebody online that they don’t know.
 
The research also finds that 36 per cent of schools teach social media etiquette and safety, compared with 43 per cent that teach coding.
 
Ultimately, despite its negative impacts, social media is still seen as an overall force for good by the majority of those born after 1997 (60 per cent).
Teachers too are seeing the benefits, with 75 per cent of them saying they are confident in using ICT in the classroom to enhance the learning environment.
 
Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet, says: “It’s clear that there’s still work to do when it comes to protecting young people online, and ensuring the internet is a force for good. A great place to start is in our schools, where we can give the future generation the tools they need to thrive in a vibrant digital future.”
 
Haworth continues: “Despite its various issues, it’s encouraging to see that many young people feel that social media does also have its merits. But we can’t ignore the negative aspects that plague many of their interactions online and which in some cases even cause mental health issues. As the nation continues to innovate the way it lives and works, with digital at the heart, we need to ensure that the benefits of social media, and the wider internet, are as far reaching as possible, and that we tackle the more undesirable elements that are causing harm.”
 
The research forms part of Nominet’s Digital Futures Index, a project that seeks to encourage debate on what matters most, as we chart a course towards a vibrant digital future in the UK. Nominet’s position as the company behind the .UK internet infrastructure means it can offer a unique perspective on the digital progress of the UK.

Nominet will work with experts from academia, business, government and education to identify the key factors that will determine the nation’s success in building a digital future. The plan is for the Digital Futures Index to be updated annually to track progress.
 
At the start of next year, the Vibrant Digital Future Summit will mark Nominet’s commitment to driving the nation forward digitally. It will invite business leaders, tech innovators and government officials to discuss the UK’s status as a tech leader, and how we risk damaging a potentially prosperous future if we don’t act on our impending digital skills gap.
 

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