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Business & Economy

Social media making young people anxious about their future

The Prince’s Trust eBay Youth Index has found that 56 per cent of 16-25 year olds in the North East believe social media creates an “overwhelming pressure” to succeed, while 40 per cent say that comparing their lives to their friends on social media makes them feel “inadequate.”

Published at a time when comparison with peers online seems inescapable for many young people, the report reveals that over two fifths (45 per cent) of young people in the North East feel more anxious about their future when comparing themselves to others on social media.

More than a third (36 per cent) of North East young people worry that they will never be as happy as the people they see on social media and one in seven (14 per cent) “always” or “often” feel “panicked” when seeing the lives of their friends online.

The Youth Index, supported by eBay, is a national survey that 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 2162 young people across the UK aged 16-25 – finds the overall Index score has flat-lined at its lowest level in a decade at 69.

The report finds that 41 per cent of young people in the North East feel more confident online than they do in person.

North East Times spoke to Vicky Smith, head of community engagement in the North at The Prince’s Trust, to discuss the implications of these findings for the region’s business community.

She said: “Young people have many skills that can enable North East businesses to thrive. However, if they do not have the self-belief and confidence at job interviews, or in their personal life, they are likely to be overlooked for opportunities.”

In response, the Prince’s Trust has put programmes in place to help young people who are being affected.

Vicky explains: “Our mission at The Trust is to help young people transform their lives, by developing the confidence and skills to live, learn and earn.

“Just one of the ways we do this is through our Get into Work programme, which sees us work with organisations and partners in the North East, and across the UK, to give young people the experience and training they need to move into a job.

“These kinds of programmes help to build the confidence and skills of young people, while giving back to the local business community and economy. We would encourage businesses of all sizes in the North East to champion young people, as they are the key to a positive and prosperous future for us all.”

The charity is also using its social media channels to challenge young people’s perceptions of success, encouraging them to re-define success on their own terms and set achievable goals. #YouthIndex