New social media advice draws on primary pupils' views

Benefits of online world highlighted in national project, but dangers of social media overuse during Covid-19 lockdown are also shown

Henry Hepburn

New social media advice draws on primary pupils' views

A "world-leading" new project will teach young people about both the dangers and opportunities of social media.

Primary school pupils have played a central role in Mind Yer Time, which was commissioned by the Scottish Youth Parliament and Children's Parliament before the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Children's Parliament said Scotland had become "the first country in the world to provide official resources to help children and young people use screens and social media healthily".

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With the help of 650 children and young people, the project explores screen time, online bullying and body image issues, and links to NHS and Scottish government-approved advice.

Mental health minister Clare Haughey said: "I can't think of a better time than now, when we are all adjusting to a new way of life and spending more time online, for this advice to publish."

She added: "We are also considering what further support is necessary for children and young people who may be experiencing stress, worry and anxiety around the pandemic.

"The Scottish Youth Parliament and the Children's Parliament should be very proud of this world-leading work and we hope it is widely used across Scotland, both during the pandemic and beyond."

Jack Dudgeon, chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: "Like all of us, young people in Scotland are adapting to physical distancing by spending more time online.

"Online tech is playing a vital role in reducing isolation during the coronavirus outbreak but at times it can be overwhelming, and research shows unhealthy amounts of screen time have a negative impact on our mental and physical health.

"We're proud to be helping young people by launching the Mind Yer Time resource, so they can flourish online and offline."

The project was created with help from pupils at Banchory Primary in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Thorntree Primary in Glasgow and Kingussie Primary, in the Highlands.

Cathy McCulloch, co-director of the Children's Parliament, said it was "aware of the risks associated with screen and social media use", but that "the digital environment also offers extraordinary opportunities for promoting and protecting children's health and wellbeing, particularly at a time like this".

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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