Living in the digital age has improved our way of life in so many ways. Technological developments have made it easier for people to interact with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Just take WhatsApp, a global platform that has opened conversations and communication for people in all walks of life. But being born in the 1990’s, this is all I know, compared to how my grandparents grew up.
There's no question that digital advancements are changing how we interact with the world, but it does come with its challenges. With the average person spending nearly two hours a day on social media, young people are increasingly facing challenges online. Cyber bullying, mental health issues and security threats should not be front of mind when growing up, but seven out of 10 teens told a poll that more needs to be done to address these issues.
This week, it was great to see The Daily Mirror hand over editorial control to a team of young editors. Within their MirrorNextGen edition, a group of teenagers published an exclusive interview with The Duke of Cambridge to discuss online bullying and mental health risks.
If social networking is to remain at the centre of my generation, it's vital that journalists listen to the voices of the young people facing these issues presented by the digital world. Ben Densham at Nettitude put it succinctly; that establishing boundaries and leading “age-appropriate open discussions about your child’s online activities will encourage young cyber minds to learn the benefits and realise the dangers of the internet.”
Online media consumption continues to grow at unprecedented rates. With this growth comes responsibility to protect young people, especially when it comes to online security. For example, the NSPCC’s WildWestWeb campaign alongside its partnership with O2 to promote online safety, is a great example of a company calling for regulators to ensure a better duty of care.
There is no doubt that technology is changing our lives for the better. But with great power, comes great responsibility, so it's essential that tech companies - particularly social media platforms - do all they can to protect people online. In turn the media must listen to the voices of those being affected, if it’s to have the positive impact it should.
If social networking is to remain at the centre of my generation, it's vital that journalists listen to the voices of the young people facing these issues presented by the digital world.