More than half of UK parents think popular social media sites hamper their children’s moral development, according to a poll commissioned by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. The 'parent poll' also reveals only 15% of parents think the popular sites provide a positive influence on young people’s character. A significant number of parents (40%) are “concerned” or “extremely concerned” about the negative and potentially harmful impact of social media. The poll, the first of its type conducted in the UK, provides a unique insight into the way moral values are portrayed on social media. It points to widespread parental anxieties about the influence of online networks on children as young as 11, who are often using the sites despite age limits. Other key findings include:
- Anger, arrogance and hatred are among the top negative character traits, or vices, reported by parents on social media;
- A quarter of parents highlight a lack of forgiveness and self-control among users;
- As an antidote to the negative findings, almost three-quarters (72%) of parents who use social media see content containing a positive moral message at least once a day;
- The “character strengths” promoted most regularly are humour, appreciation of beauty, creativity, love, courage and kindness.
The full press release is available here. The story became the lead article on the BBC Education pages on 18th July 2016.
You can read more about the virtues and vices of social media in this latest Jubilee Centre blog post.
The project page is available here.