Teenage girls driven away from social media

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Teenage girls are being driven away from social media – with nearly half saying they have been harassed or abused online.

Out of 1,002 girls, 48% said they had experienced harassment or abuse on social media, according to a survey by Plan International.

The girls’ rights charity found that this was above the 40% of boys who had similar experiences.

Rosa, 19, is one of those young women who has experienced abuse online.

She told Sky News: “Things that I know for a fact these people would never say to me in person, like I know if I was to come face to face with them they wouldn’t be calling me a slut or a slag, but online they feel they could and it used to really, really, wear me down, like really wear me down.”

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Rosa has been abused online and Ambrin has closed most of her social media accounts

Ambrin, 15, closed most of her social media accounts such as Instagram after receiving abuse after setting up an online feminism page.

She said social media can place pressure on friendships because there is no escape from it. She also recognised that girls are faced with glamorous images many feel they have to imitate.

She said: “Looks are seen as so important, I think, and it’s ‘How does she look? What’s she wearing?’.

“And girls are taught to do this to each other so it’s not just coming from outside, it’s being done to each other because society kind of pushes that onto girls what they’re doing.”

Social media
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By withdrawing from social media, girls risk losing access to various aspects of society

But the charity that conducted the research said girls should not be driven away from social media because it can be vital for elements in life such as career and social development.

They found that of the youngsters they interviewed, 73% of girls said they had taken action to avoid being criticised online.

Lucy Russell, from Plan International, said: “It’s really concerning that girls are actually withdrawing themselves from the spaces where work will be, where politics will be, where decisions are being made.

“If you look at all the MPs we have, they all have a Twitter account, they’re all talking online.

“We can’t be encouraging girls to withdraw from those kind of spaces.”



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