Feature Documentary (90mins)
Producers: Kris Sorbie and Andi Reiss
In the past eight years, the suicide rate among British teenagers has nearly doubled. Last year around 200 schoolchildren killed themselves. Tech giants do not bear all of the responsibility for the deaths, their critics say, but they are abetting them by not doing enough to help stop them.
“Social media companies clearly need to do more to ensure they are not promoting harmful content to vulnerable people,” said a government official.
However, recent academic studies, including one by psychologists at Oxford University, suggest that social media use has no major adverse impact on mental health. The Oxford University study concluded that “wearing glasses has more negative effect on adolescent mental health.”
Yet the academic studies are not assuaging critics, and some lawmakers cast doubt on their overall accuracy, saying they do not look closely enough on teenage girls, who seem the most vulnerable. It also urges parents to be more alert and to limit, as well as monitor, their children’s screen time.
More than 30 British families have complained that social media giants have blocked or hindered their access to social media data after their children’s suicides and this investigative documentary aims to identify the issues at stake in order to protect teenagers at risk.