UK teens worst for extreme internet use

More than one in three British 15-year-olds meet the criteria to be considered "extreme internet users", reportedly spending at least a quarter of their day online.

According to a report released by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), 37.3 per cent of teens in Britain use the internet for more than six hours everyday, which is more than their peers in all the other 34 OECD countries except Chile.

The report has also warned that such heavy use among teenagers could result in damage to psychological and emotional health. It adds: "The evidence points towards a correlation between extreme use of social media and harmful effects on young people’s wellbeing. Those classed as ‘extreme internet users’ were more likely to report being bullied (17.8 per cent) than moderate internet users (6.7% per cent."

Furthermore, it was revealed that British children are going online for the first time at a much younger age than their peers in the other 34 OECD member states, with almost 27.6 per cent of young people in the UK first using the internet aged six or under.

The data, collected by Emily Frith, former advisor to Nick Clegg, added that 95 per cent of teens regularly used social media before or after the school day, which is higher than the OECD average.

As a result, Frith and OECD executive chairman David Laws, are calling on social media companies, parents and schools to do more to help young people become mental and emotionally strong so they're able to deal with the risk posed by social media use.

Frith added: "Our research highlights the importance of equipping young people with skills that help them counter emerging online risks. That doesn’t mean protecting them from the internet but rather putting forward proactive measures centred on resilience building."

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