TWITTER and Facebook are to blame for the rise in teenage girls self-harming, Health Secretary Matt Hancock blasted last night.
Launching an all-out attack on social media giants as he accused them of doing “absolutely nothing” to enforce minimum age rules and hinted at new laws to make them mandatory.
In the interview with Parliament’s House magazine, he directly connected social media with the rise in mental health problems in children and young people.
He said: “It’s a combination of prevalence and people being more willing to talk about it. I definitely think social media has got a part to play.
“If you look at the figures, there’s an increase in self-harm amongst teenage girls but not amongst teenage boys.
“And that implies that something happened in the last decade to increase the pressure on teenage girls.”
He also hit out at the pressure on youngsters using networks like WhatsApp before turning 16 saying he “absolutely” backed a minimum and enforced legal age requirement to use the sites.
He raged: “The terms and conditions of the main social media sites are that you shouldn’t use it under the age of 13.
“But the companies do absolutely nothing to enforce against that. And they should, I think that should be a requirement.
“You shouldn’t be on WhatsApp, according to their own terms and conditions, before you’re 16.
“And yet, the pressures that people feel under when they’re on a WhatsApp group to respond, to wake up in the middle of the night to get back to messages – this is teenagers or young kids who aren’t even teenagers yet.
“So, if the company say that you shouldn’t be on it till 16, they should do something about that and they should empower parents to allow it to happen.”
He confirmed he had ordered the Chief Medical Officer to come forward with advice and guidance on the age-appropriate use of social media.
But he sat on the fence over whether social media networks should fork out to help fund child mental health services.
He added: “What I want to see is social media companies paying their fair share of tax and adequate funding for mental health services.
Greed and lies
How disgraced tycoon Philip Green is the UK’s most controversial businessman
Universal Credit to hit cancer patients who face waiting weeks for support
THUNDER THE WEATHER
UK braced for THUNDERSNOW as mercury drops 20C in Arctic blast tomorrow
Shoppers vow to boycott Topshop after Philip Green is outed in gagging scandal
Calls for Philip Green to lose knighthood after being named in gagging scandal
ALL RIOT ON THE WESTERN FRONT
What we know about the WW1 Spring Offensive and how it ended
“Now, whether you link the two directly or not is less important than whether we get the funding into children’s mental health services.”
Previous Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt also hit out at social media giants for fuelling a rise in self harming among teenagers and allowing cyber bullying to flourish.
Teens are currently suffering record levels of anxiety.
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Considers Softening Restrictions on Social Media Giants – Report
- What does it take to make a social media network that doesn’t exploit users?
- Pakistan Moves to Restrict Social Media
- Social media platforms Facebook, Google, Twitter to form an alliance to fight fake news: Report
- U.K. government planning new regulation of social media companies
- After 10 years and 22,000 tweets, why I’ve ditched anti-social media: By TV presenter LOUISE MINCHIN
- Brooke Blurton and Blakbusiness show Indigenous youth turning to social media to influence and educate
- BRITs 2020: Laura Whitmore calls it a night by heading to bed in a dressing gown while wild Anne-Marie toasts with a bottle of Malibu as they lead the stars documenting the music event on social media
- Exclusive: Philip Morris suspends social media campaign after Reuters exposes young 'influencers'
- Warning over rise in London teenager suicides
- Tech Tent: Is social media spreading the virus?
- BRITs 2020: Maya Jama shares hilarious post about her 'toxic ex' on social media... after partying with ex Stormzy following his big win
- Social media platforms could face huge fines if they fail to protect kids in crackdown
- Caroline Flack assault charge outrage as horrifying new details of arrest bodycam footage and self-harm emerge
- UK regulator to have more power over social media firms
- Bo Burnham on ‘Eighth Grade,’ Anxiety and Why Social Media Is a Curse
- Mike Bloomberg Campaign Is Paying Social Media Influencers to Post Political Memes Online
- Disconnection, Isolation & Depression – Impact of Social Media?
- Chinese restaurants are losing business over coronavirus fears. An Australian social media campaign wants to change that
- Why parents should worry about girls’ perfect selfies
Health Secretary calls out social media giants over alarming rise in self-harming in teenage girls have 826 words, post on www.thesun.co.uk at October 25, 2018. This is cached page on Business News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.