Webwatch: Four in five support tighter social media regulation to improve mental health

A vast majority of the British public think time spent on social media is harming young people’s wellbeing, a poll suggests.

Four in five people support tighter regulation of the platforms to reduce perceived negative impact on issues like depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep.

The figures, from polling commissioned by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), come as an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is launched to tackle the issue on Wednesday.

Shirley Cramer, RSPH chief executive, said: “Social media is now so entrenched in the lives of young people that it is no longer possible to ignore it when talking about mental health.

“With its almost universal reach and unprecedented ability to connect people from all walks of life, social media holds vast potential to be a positive catalyst for good mental health.

“Yet there are risks, which if not addressed and countered, can cause significant problems for young people’s wellbeing.”

Nearly half of respondents (45%) said regulation should come from a code of conduct upheld by social media companies, while more than one third (36%) said it should be legally enforced by Government.

Chris Elmore MP, chairman of the APPG, said: “For many children, teenagers and young adults, social media can help develop positive relationships, but it’s clear it can also create an emotional strain.

“The new APPG is an opportunity to move forward and look to solutions for how we can minimise the impact which it can have on mental health.”

The survey was carried out by Populus between April 13 and 15, with a representative UK-wide sample size of 2,000 adults, RSPH said.

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