Call for evidence: impact of social media and screens on young people

23 February 2018

The Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into the impact of social media and screen-use on young people’s health. The committee is welcoming the perspectives and experiences by children, schools and youth organisations, as well as details of any initiatives taken, including:

  • What evidence there is on the effects of social media and screen-use on young people’s physical and mental wellbeing — for better and for worse — and any gaps in the evidence.
  • The areas that should be the focus of any further research needed and why.
  • The wellbeing benefits from social media usage, including any Apps that provide mental-health benefits to users.
  • The physical/mental harms from social media use and screen-use, including safety online risks, the extent of any addictive behaviour, and aspects of social media/Apps which magnify such addictive behaviour.
  • Any measures being used, or needed, to mitigate any potential harmful effects of excessive screen-use and what solutions are being used.
  • The extent of awareness of any risks, and how awareness could be increased for particular groups (children, schools, social media companies, Government, etc.).  
  • What monitoring is needed, and by whom.
  • What measures, controls or regulation are needed.
  • Where responsibility and accountability should lie for such measures.

Written evidence should be submitted through the inquiry page by Friday 6 April.


The Education Policy Institute reports that 95% of UK 15 year olds use social media before or after school, and half of 9–16 year olds use smart-phones on a daily basis. The Children’s Commissioner has found that children aged 8–12 find it hard to manage the impact of social media. The Life in likes report from the Children’s Commissioner called for action to:

  • ‘Broaden digital literacy education beyond safety messages’.
  • Inform parents about how to ‘support children to use social media in a positive way’.
  • ‘Improve teachers’ knowledge about the impacts of social media on children’s wellbeing’.
  • Drive social media companies to ‘do more to address underage use’.

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