During lockdown over half a billion people joined social media for the first time in an effort to stay in touch with friends and loved ones across the globe.
But the use of sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has also been linked to signs of depression and anxiety. In this episode of The Agenda, Stephen Cole looks at whether the platforms designed to keep us connected are in fact making us lonelier than ever.
Instagram saw the most new users of any other platform during the pandemic. To get an insight into why it’s so addictive Stephen speaks to writer Bella Younger. The self-described ‘accidental influencer’ explains how she became so obsessed with checking her phone that she ended up in rehab for a social media addiction.
Also in the show is Professor Yvonne Kelly, the Director of the ESRC International Centre for Life Course Studies at University College London. She explains how her study concluded that 14 year old girls were twice as likely to show depressive symptoms linked to social media use when compared to boys of the same age.
Plus - should mobile phones be banned in bedrooms or even schools? Stephen speaks to cyber bullying campaigner Charley Oliver-Holland about her experiences online and how to silence the trolls.
Finally - are there long term consequences of harmful online behaviour? And how has online aggression changed in the last decade? Dr Maša Popovac - a psychologist who specialises in Cyberpsychology explains the evolution of trolling and whether anonymous accounts will become a thing of the past.
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