Mental Health: Social Media

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Jonathan Lord Jonathan Lord Conservative, Woking

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the effect of social media on the mental health of young people.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government recognises that social media can be a force for good, supporting education and helping people make positive connections with other people. However, as with most innovations, the Government is committed to taking action to ensure the risks of social media, particularly on the mental health of young people.

On 7 February, the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers published their independent systematic map of evidence on screen and social media use in children and young people. They also published advice for parents and carers, giving tips on how to have a healthy balance with screen time. This is based on evidence around activities that are important for healthy child development such as sleep, exercise and education.

We want the UK to be the safest place to be online. The Government wants to work with internet and social media providers to achieve this, and we are clear we will take tougher action were needed. The Department of Health and Social Care has been working closely alongside colleagues at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on their upcoming Online Harms White Paper. This White Paper will set out a range of legislative and non-legislative measures detailing how the Government will tackle online harms and set clear responsibilities for tech companies to keep UK citizens safe.

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