From articles about the toxicity of Instagram to social media being blamed for increasing mental health issues among children, the online world has become something of a scapegoat for its perceived negative impact on young people.
But research shows social has a number of deeply positive effects, including helping young people explore their identity, make connections with others in similar positions to them, and build their self-esteem.
Girl Effect has just published a report with think tank New Knowledge into how online interventions including social media can influence the behaviour of young people. From Browsing To Behaviour Change was the topic of the first in a series of webinars run by development title Devex.
John Fraser, president and CEO of New Knowledge, pointed out that for those who grew up without technology, the sheer scale of social media use by young people, particularly on phones, might seem shocking or bad. ‘But it’s really no different. Film, radio and TV were all thought to be corrupting forces in society when they first emerged. Really it’s just a different way we’re processing information.’