Research Finds Children Are Happier Without Social Media

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. better off / ˈbɛt ər ˈɔf / (idiom) – being in a more favorable situation than before

    Vanessa thinks she’s better off without her smartphone.

  2. self-esteem / ˈsɛlf ɪˈstim / (n) – one’s confidence in his/her qualities and abilities

    Many students have low self-esteem because of online abuse.

  3. detox / ˈdi tɒks / (n) – a time when a person stops doing or eating unhealthy things to improve his/her health

    My coworker advised me to go on a digital detox while I’m on vacation.

  4. fast / fæst / (n) – a period of time when one does not eat anything

    I’ve been on a fast for eight hours now.

  5. refrain / rɪˈfreɪn / (v) – to stop doing something, especially something that you want to do very much

    The professor told her students to refrain from using their smartphones during the lecture.


Read the text below.

Digital Awareness UK, an online safety organization, revealed that schoolchildren think they are better off without social media.

The organization conducted a research in coordination with a professional association of independent school heads. Almost 5,000 students in England were surveyed, with ages ranging from 14 to 16.

According to the results, students are now recognizing the impact of social media on their health and well-being. More than half of them reported experiences of online abuse and attacks on their self-esteem. Online abuse and fake news are some of the negative things about technology that they are beginning to realize.

Researchers also said that older cellphone models such as Nokia 3310 have become a popular option among young people. Giving up their smartphones is what some do to stay away from social media. Others also resorted to temporary digital detoxes, which became popular after celebrities like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift started doing them.

Some schools like Benenden School, a boarding school in the UK, have initiatives to help decrease students’ dependence on digital technology. Benenden School implemented “Phone Fast,” a three-day event where mobile phones and social media were prohibited. Because of the students’ positive response, Benenden School decided to make it a regular event.

Similarly, in 2016, BBC News School Report and BBC Radio 5 live organized a digital detox event at a high school in Cheshire, England. A thousand students were challenged to refrain from using YouTube, online gaming, and social media for one week. The initiative aimed to decrease the amount of time students spend on gaming and social media.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think you need a digital detox? Why or why not?
• If you were a parent, would you impose a phone fast at home? Explain.

Discussion B

• How can parents help their children properly deal with online abuse?
• What can schools do to help their students effectively identify fake news online? Give details.