Most young people in Northern Ireland think social media creates “overwhelming pressure” to succeed, a survey showed.
The Prince’s Trust eBay Youth Index said nothing had happened to improve how young people feel about their lives.
It is very sad to see the Youth Index score remain at its lowest level, and especially concerning that young people in Northern Ireland are lagging behind their peers
It found that 61% of 16 to 25-year-olds believe social media creates an “overwhelming pressure” to succeed, while 57% say that comparing their lives to their friends on social media makes them feel “inadequate”.
Nick Stace, UK chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, said: “It is very sad to see the Youth Index score remain at its lowest level, and especially concerning that young people in Northern Ireland are lagging behind their peers.”
The tenth Prince’s Trust Youth Index said Northern Ireland’s young people’s overall wellbeing score is lower than the UK-wide average (66 vs 69).
Published at a time when comparison with peers online seems inescapable for many young people, the report reveals how over half (56%) of young people in Northern Ireland feel more anxious about their future when comparing themselves to others on social media.
The report finds that 31% of young people Northern Ireland feel more confident online than they do in person.
Mr Stace added: “Since the Youth Index launched a decade ago, social media has become omnipresent in the lives of young people and this research suggests it is exacerbating what is already an uncertain and emotionally turbulent time.
“Young people are critical to the future success of this country, but they’ll only realise their full potential if they believe in themselves and define success in their own terms.
“It is therefore a moral and economic imperative that employers, government, charities and wider communities put the needs of young people centre stage.”