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17 Jan 2020

Social media data vital for mental health research

Social media companies should be compelled to hand over their data to universities for independent research into the risks and benefits of social media use, says a new report published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The challenges posed by social media to the mental health of children and young people have exploded in recent times. The tragic suicide of teenager Molly Russell, who died after viewing harmful content online, led to calls for stricter rules to protect users from ‘online harms.’ Her father, Ian, backs the College’s report.

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of SANE, comments:

“The dangers of social media have been known for many years, which makes it so much more shocking that so little has been done to protect vulnerable young people.

“There has been an exponential rise in the numbers of people contacting our helpline in recent years who have self-harmed, now comprising 70 per cent of our callers, some directly linked to the 24/7 pressures of social media.”

Force social media companies to hand over their data for research into the harms and benefits of social media use, says new report – RCPsych

Technology use and the mental health of children and young people – PCPsych

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