Sites like Instagram 'can be major contributor to anxiety'
Social media sites like Instagram can be a major contributor to teen anxiety, according to research from anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label.
Almost 80 per cent of 12 to 20-year-olds said they used the photo-sharing platform, and seven per cent said they had experienced cyber-bullying.
Nearly 70 per cent of more than 10,000 youngsters surveyed admitted they had been abusive towards another person online.
According to the poll, 76 per cent use Snapchat, and five per cent felt they had been the victim of some form of abuse.
Young people who have a disability or who identify as LGBT+ are some of the most likely to be bullied
After posting a selfie, 40 per cent said they would feel bad if it received no likes, and 35 per cent directly linked confidence to their follower count.
One in three said they lived in fear of cyber-bullying, with appearance cited as the most likely topic for abuse.
According to one expert, children are growing up in "a culture of antagonism".
Liam Hackett, CEO of Ditch the Label, said: “Our theme this year was to explore the impact of technology and digital abuse upon the lives of young people.
“Technology is having a profound impact upon all of our lives. It is redefining how we communicate, build and maintain relationships and it underpins our entire democracy.
“We are at a unique moment in time because there is no real precedent or ‘rule book’ on how to live as a responsible digital global citizen.
"Cyber-bullying continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing young people.
"Not only is the internet redefining the climate of bullying, but also it is having clear impacts upon the identity, behaviours and personality of its young users."
He added: “Not only is the internet redefining the climate of bullying, but it is having clear impacts upon the identity, behaviours and personality of its young users.
“The data shows that young people feel more able to be themselves online, than they do offline. Perhaps we should be challenging the forces that hold young people back in their offline environments and praising the internet for its ability to allow young people to be closer to their true selves.”
The charity has called on social networks to put more resources into policing comments people post online and responding to complaints in a more timely manner.
Lord Rumi Verjee, founder of The Rumi Foundation, commented: “I believe passionately that there is no room for prejudice or discrimination in our society, and that compassion, inclusion and tolerance are fundamental rights for all.”