Social media adding strain on young, says archbishop

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Media caption,

The Most Rev John Davies wants people to think about their actions

Social media is placing a "particularly worrying" amount of anxiety on young people through misuse and trolling, the Archbishop of Wales has said.

The Most Rev John Davies admitted he was "staggered" by the levels of mental health issues and stress among people, especially the young.

He said it was the church's role to speak out about what harms society.

In his Christmas message, he told worshippers to "pause, reflect on what we do and what effect it has".

He added: "I don't believe any of them act deliberately to harm but sometimes decisions can be taken perhaps without thought."

Mr Davies said it was good to see steps being taken to limit the use of social media but his comments were not about "bah humbug".

"One is frankly staggered by the levels of mental illness and stress that all sorts of people suffer," he said.

"But what is particularly worrying is the way it seems to be impacting on the young.

"There are stresses and strains on them to achieve through education. There are stresses and strains on them through social media."

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Image caption,
The Archbishop of Wales will host his Christmas service at Brecon Cathedral

Mr Davies cited a recent visit to London as an example of how social media is affecting society.

"You sit on the Tube and there's no conversation. It's the earphones in or being on the [mobile phone] screen.

"Yes we're in touch with people through these media but we're not communicating and being in touch and communicating are two very different things - just like having a house or having a home.

"It's not just the thing you've got it's how you use it and whether you use it for good or less good things."

Image source, Getty Images

The archbishop added that the role of the church was to say "just press the pause button for a moment".

"Social media itself is thought to be an increasing contributory factor to young people in particular.

"It's a means of communication but like all sorts of things we have it can be good or its prone to misuse and trolling and stuff like this seems to be on the increase and out there, there are an increasing number of victims."