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Social media creates 'overwhelming pressure' on majority of young people in Wales

Credit: PA

Over half of 16-25 year olds in Wales think social media creates an "overwhelming pressure" on young people, according to the Prince's Trust Cymru.

New figures from the group suggest nearly half (47%) of 16-25 year olds in Wales say comparing their life to others on social media makes them feel "inadequate".

61%
of young people in Wales think social media creates "overwhelming pressure" to succeed
43%
worry they will never be as happy as the people they see on social media

A further 20% of those surveyed said seeing the lives of their friends online "always" or "often" made them feel "panicked".

The Director of the Prince's Trust Cymru said the figures show "nothing has happened" over the past year to improve the way young people feel about their lives.

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.

– Philip Jones, Director of The Prince's Trust Cymru

In separate research, by the Children's Commissioner for Crime, it was found school pupils in Wales feel that many parents and teachers do not understand the online activities and platforms they use.

Students said they felt parents and teachers were therefore ineffective with their support.

Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

During a 12 month consultation on cyberbullying, with more than 400 schoolchildren, the group said they wanted more opportunities to share their experiences of cyberbullying. As well as their anxieties about online life with their peers in safe spaces.

The findings published today on Safer Internet Day, also call for pupils to be empowered to set up Cyber Action Groups - advising teachers and parents about the latest apps and how young people use them.

Credit: Oliver Berg/DPA/PA Images

Professor Sally Holland, the Children's Commissioner, said young people are increasingly "familiar with negative online experiences".

They've told us that they want more opportunities to share these experiences and to discuss coping strategies in safe, non-judgemental spaces.

Another strong message from young people is that they're keen to take a lead on tackling this issue, and that they're often happier to be guided by their peers than they are by the adults around them, who often don't understand their online lives.

– Children's Commissioner, Prof Sally Holland

Pupils at Rhyl High school have recently started running drop-in sessions that provide peer-to-peer support on bullying, including cyberbullying.

Cerys, a 16-year-old pupil at the school said: "When you're being cyberbullied there's no escape from it".

"You've got messages or posts about you, which isn't fair because you've got nowhere to escape, and that's why it's becoming just as serious as bullying in school, and physical contact".