More than half of British parents believe social media use will damage their children’s morals.
Researchers from the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at Birmingham University surveyed 1,700 people who had children between 11 and 17 years old. Participants were asked questions about social media use and its effects. The Jubilee Centre describes itself as an “interdisciplinary research centre focussing on character, virtues and values”.
As many as 55 per cent believed their children’s morals were undermined by the use of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, despite 93 per cent admitting they regularly used social media themselves.
Only 15 per cent of those polled believed that social media was a positive influence in the lives of young people. Meanwhile, 40 per cent were concerned about the possibility such platforms could actually damage children.
Almost a quarter – 24 per cent – of parents said there was too little forgiveness online and 21 per cent claimed there was not enough honesty. Similar numbers also believed fairness and humility were lacking among social media users.
However, 72 per cent of participants also said they saw positive messages on social media on a daily basis. More than half said they regularly saw humour and an appreciation of beauty displayed online. Many parents also said they saw creativity (44 per cent), love (39 per cent) and courage (39 per cent).
Researcher Blaire Morgan said despite parents admitting there were good things about social media, they were often “reluctant to agree that these sites could have a positive impact on their child’s character”.
Studying these trends could make it possible to “maximise the benefits of social media use and avoid the pitfalls”, Ms Morgan claimed.
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