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Education thinktank warns that Brit teens are ‘extreme’ internet users

AN OUTFIT CALLED the Education Policy Institute (EPI) thinktank has published a report into how teenagers behave online and found that British teens are some of the most extreme users and spend the most time online.

The EPI said that the internet does kids some good, both educationally and socially, but that like sweets and crisps and fizzy pop and cake too much of it can be a bad thing.

“Young people can connect with others to improve their social skills online, develop their character and resilience, and collaborate on school projects. Importantly, 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 per cent of young people contacting the organisation Childline now do so online,” said the EPI.

“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.”

However, like a kid who has had three milkshakes and rides two rollercoasters, sometimes these things go too far and problems emerge. The EPI suggested that the more children are online the more likely they are to be exposed to threats and bad eggs.

Plus it suggested that some kids are engaging themselves in extreme use, which is not – as we expected – tweeting while bungee jumping, snorting cinnamon and yelling YOLO.

Before we make any assumptions about whose kids might need some vitamins, we should tell you that almost 95 per cent of UK 15-year-olds use social media before or after school, which is above the European average. UK kids continue to impress with their tolerance for the internet, and over a third of 15-year-olds admitted to using the internet for six hours a day.

We would like to tell them to wait until they get into the real world where they will have to stop all this messing about and start working. Then the real time spent on the internet starts. µ



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