Northern Ireland news

Young people in north say social media creates 'overwhelming pressure' to succeed

 Lucy Grainger from Belfast

ALMOST two-thirds of young people in Northern Ireland believe social media creates an "overwhelming pressure" to succeed, according to a study.

The Prince's Trust youth index also found that more than half of 16-25 year-olds said comparing their life to others on social media makes them feel "inadequate".

The UK-wide survey gauges young people’s happiness and confidence across a range of areas from their working life to physical and mental health.

The latest report - based on an online survey of more than 2,000 young people - reveals the overall 'wellbeing score' of those in Northern Ireland is lower than the UK average.

More than a third of young people in the north worry they will never be as happy as those they see on social media.

However, almost a third of respondents also said social media makes them feel like they can have a voice for their generation and influence positive change.

Lucy Grainger (21) from Belfast is among young people who have benefited from the work of the Prince’s Trust, which gives support to "stabilise their lives, helping to develop the core skills needed to thrive in education and work" by enhancing mental health and well-being across a range of programmes.

She described social media as a "double edged sword" as it has helped her to find a community of support as she recovers from self-harm and eating disorders, but she also has to be careful about the negative effects it can have.

Nick Stace from The Prince's Trust said: "Since the youth index launched a decade ago, social media has become omnipresent in the lives of young people and this research suggests it is exacerbating what is already an uncertain and emotionally turbulent time.

"Young people are critical to the future success of this country, but they’ll only realise their full potential if they believe in themselves and define success in their own terms."

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