Social media not all bad, says Christian expert amid "crisis" claims

Thu 20 Oct 2016
By Hannah Tooley

A Christian expert has said a warning that social media is creating a public health crisis among young people is only representing one side of the story.

On Thursday MPs are hearing children are being driven to mental breakdown and even suicide by harassment on social media.

Dr Bex Lewis told Premier to to paint social media solely as a crisis.

She said: "I think that is a bold and slightly damaging statement."

"The report's quite negative in every sense - that it's dangerous and that technology is slightly limiting... and I think that's a dangerous narrative to surround ourselves with."

81% of 13-18-year-olds have smartphones

Children as young as nine now have smartphones

37% of 3-4-year-olds regularly go online and 28% of 3-4s have own tablet

99% of 16-24s use social media, accounting for 18% of all time spent using media and communications

The Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group is hosting the discussion in parliament on the dangers posed to young people.

The meeting has been designed to find solutions for safeguarding children and young people and to challenge the Government and the industry to treat this as a public health crisis.

However Dr Lewis says it is all about responsible usage: "Youth groups should be looking at this kind of stuff, it should be mentioned in sermons.

"If there's parent and toddler groups, bring it up really early, have links to support organisations that help people deal with this sort of stuff, I still think conversation and education are two of the most powerful tools we can use."

"I think it's usage, I quite often say to people technology has certain functionalities we can use with it, there's certain things we can do, but we have a certain amount of choice.

"So if we think about a brick, which is a basic form of technology, you can throw it through a window, or you can build a house with it."

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Dr Bex Lewis here:

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