1 in 3 of UK 15-year-olds classed as 'extreme internet users'

A study shows over 37.3% of UK 15-year-olds spend at least six hours a day online. These teens are classed as 'extreme internet users'.

DQC Bureau
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A study shows over 37.3% of UK 15-year-olds spend at least six hours a day online. These teens are classed as 'extreme internet users'. The study was taken under to highlight the benefits and risks of social media use among teens.


The report, by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) in the UK, warns that children and young people's heavy internet use can have damaging consequences.

"The evidence points towards a correlation between extreme use of social media and harmful effects on young people's well-being," the report said.

"Those classed as 'extreme internet users' were more likely to report being bullied (17.8%) than moderate internet users (6.7%)," it said.


Young people in the UK are also extensive users of social media sites 94.8% of 15 year olds in the UK used social media before or after school.

However, researchers also found evidence of a beneficial impact of social media on young people's emotional wellbeing.

Young people can connect with others to improve their social skills online, develop their character and resilience, and collaborate on school projects, they said.

Those with mental health problems are also able to seek support on the internet, either through social media networks or through the online provision of advice and counselling support.


For example, 78% of young people contacting the organisation Childline now do so online, the report found.

Equipping young people with sufficient digital skills to help them navigate the internet and new technologies safely is vital.

Therefore, while restricting a child's use of the internet has been shown to reduce the chances of them experiencing online risks, this can be counterproductive restricted access also inhibits the development of the skills and resilience needed to handle such risks.

"Parents should not restrict their children's access to the internet in a bid to protect them from its pitfalls, such as imposing time limits or banning access to certain sites," the report says.

It warns of "the inefficacy of attempts to protect children and young people from all online risk."

Parents would be better making their children more resilient, especially in the face of the increasingly key role social media is playing in young lives.

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