Mobile phones mean young people are always in touch with social media.

Nottingham’s 16 to 25-year-olds are less happy and confident than their predecessors ten years ago, with social media being cited as the main reason, according to a report.

It’s the tenth year of The Prince’s Trust eBay Youth Index, where the charity measures the overall happiness and confidence of young people throughout the UK.

The 2019 report has shown alarming results, with 16-25 years olds being less happy and confident in nine out of ten categories since 2009. These include relationships with friends, emotional health and qualifications.

Social media is said to put “overwhelming pressure” on young people, with 59% of 16 to 25-year-olds in Nottingham agreeing.

“Nothing has happened to improve the way young people in Nottingham and across the UK are feeling about their lives”

Nick Stace, UK Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust

Ofcom found that a fifth of 16 to 25-year-olds spend more than seven hours a day online. This amount of screen time can lead to conflict in close relationships, anxiety and lower achievements in exams amongst other things.

Nearly half of young people in the city say looking at other people’s lives on social media makes them feel inadequate and less worthy.

Out of 16 to 25-year-olds in Nottingham:

  • 42%  feel more anxious about their future due to social media
  • 34% feel they will never be as happy as the people they see on social media
  • one in eight “always” or “often” feel “panicked” when seeing the lives of their friends on social media

It’s not all bad news for social media, however, as almost a quarter of young people in Nottingham believe it makes them feel like they can have a voice for their generation and influence positive change.

It is also helping boost confidence, with 34% feeling more confident online than they do in person.

Social media also helps one fifth of young people feel happier but sport, earning enough money to live how they want and spending time with their family have much more positive effects.

With it being a ten year anniversary, The Prince’s Trust is urging councils to take more notice of young people’s happiness.

“Nothing has happened to improve the way young people in Nottingham and across the UK are feeling about their lives,” said Nick Stace, UK chief executive of The Prince’s Trust. He is concerned “that the considerable decline we saw last year has shown no recovery.”