Information about Covid19:
Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.

Ben's story

"Is social media good or bad for our mental health?" asks Ben Bolton, a social media expert from Headstart Kernow.

“Young people think that social media seems to get the blame for a lot of social issues, which aren’t really the fault of social media."

Continue reading

He says: “The thing that interests us is that constant comparison that some young people face; comparing their everyday life with that of someone’s highlight reel. We hear from a lot of young people, that this constant comparison chips away at their self-esteem.

“We also know that young people seem very aware that images can be manipulated, but I do think on a sub conscious level it is having an impact on the way in which they view themselves.  Body image is a huge issue, they are teenagers and the body and mind is changing; I think social media adds another level of complexity to this.

“The other major issue is FOMO or the fear of missing out.  Some people may not want to be on social media, but because all their friends are, they feel as though they have to be.  And if they take themselves away from it, then that is excluding them from their friendship circles." 

The charity MIND say that monitoring how you are feeling can help you decide if being online would be helpful for your mental health. 

Ben agrees with this: “The best advice I can give is to be very aware of what you are doing online and how that makes you feel; is this good or bad for me?  I know of young people who’ve made the decision that Facebook isn’t as positive for them as it could be, so they are not logging in as much, instead only checking occasionally. 

In the UK, 38 million adults access the internet every day; that's 76% of the adult population.

On average, internet users aged 16 and over spend more than 20 hours online each week and more than 70% have a social networking profile. 

While some studies have shown being online can be helpful for your mental health, there might be times when using online tools could have a negative impact on your wellbeing, especially with social media. 

These could be things like comparing your everyday life to the highlights of someone else, it could make you stressed or anxious because of FOMO, you could also feel overwhelmed and despite things like social media bringing people together it can lead to some people feeling more isolated.

To find out more about Headstart Kernow and the support available to young people you can visit the Headstart Kernow website.