The Children's Commissioner for England has published research on the way primary school children use social media, and how its use affects their wellbeing when they start secondary school.
Based on focus groups with 8 to 12 year olds, the research shows two sides to social media: it helps younger children discover new things about the world around them, boosting their moods and allowing them to be creative, but those approaching their teens worry about things they are not able to control. The 'cliff edge' often appears as children move into secondary school, with their use of social media changing from games and creativity to social interactions and image.
While 8-10 year olds use social media for play, this changes significantly as children's social circles expand and many find it difficult to manage. They often become over-dependent on 'likes and 'comments'. Children are constantly contactable and connected and the pressure becomes impossible to ignore when the whole class is online.
The report suggests that schools and parents are successful in teaching children about online safety, but less awareness of the emotional impact of being online.
Main findings from the report include: