Children are exposed to problems of online bullying in a way their parents never were, and the worst culprit for allowing youngsters to endure this intimidation has been found to be Facebook.
According to a NSPCC study that looked at 14 sites, apps and games, Facebook, YouTube and computer game Grand Theft Auto: San Adreas were the worst at exposing children aged 11 to 18 to inappropriate behaviour.
More than half (58 per cent) of 2,000 kids and 2,000 parents surveyed had experienced bullying on Facebook, 55 per cent had watched violence, 37 per cent had seen drinks and drugs footage, 36 per cent had witnessed sexual content, and a further 36 per cent had encountered suicide on the social networking site.
Speaking with the Daily Telegraph, Andy Burrows, a leader of NSPCC safety campaigns, said: “For the last decade, the social media giants have been able to do what they like when it comes to child protection.”
He noted that with no legal requirement to take responsibility for their content, stricter regulation is needed to make sure these sites are safe for kids.
Following the report, which was published in the news provider, Facebook has increased its safety and security team to 20,000.
NHS England boss Simon Stevens is also concerned about the repercussions of social media use among youngsters, telling the NHS Confederation’s annual conference in Manchester that anxiety from being on these online sites, together with obesity, was creating a “double epidemic affecting our children”.
He stated there is “more unmet need for young people’s mental health services than probably any other part of the health service”, the Daily Mail reported.
Those in au pair jobs in the UK may want to reduce exposure to social media sites for the children they look after, and instead encourage them to be active and play outdoors for a healthier lifestyle.