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Swapping dependency for detox: why some school children wish social media wasn’t invented

Across the UK, young people are a dominant demographic when it comes to social media usage, with 94.8% of 15 year olds using such platforms both before and after school.


However, a recent survey has challenged this, and instead offers a more negative reception from some of the supposedly most frequent users on social media.


Using nearly 5000 children aged between 14 and 16, the survey conducted by Digital Awareness UK saw some unlikely figures, with two thirds of the pupils questioned stating that they wished that social media had never been invented.


Among the statistics found, 56% of the pupils also said that they felt like they were on the edge of addiction to social media, and even 71% of them have attempted to resolve this, by taking digital detoxes to switch off from the online world.


This concept of a digital detox is certainly not unfamiliar to those of us who regularly engage in social media. Celebrities, such as Ed Sheeran have in fact encouraged this, with the ‘Shape of You’ singer taking a year-long break away from all social media platforms, before returning to promote the release of his album ‘Divide’ earlier this year.


It appears that some of his youngest fans are now following in his footsteps and embracing a less digitally-dominated lifestyle. What were once feelings of reliance on participating on platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, are now being exchanged by senses of relief.


Despite acts of retweeting posts and double-tapping images becoming normalised in our daily routines, the survey could suggest that for younger people, they are no longer necessary, and in fact switching off social media should be encouraged further.


But with users of Facebook alone still spending 50 minutes a day on the platform, are digital detoxes really a sustainable solution?


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