• Question: How do you feel about children spending more and more of their free time with virtual friends online?

    Asked by tyrrellt to Katherine on 13 Apr 2015.
    • Photo: Katherine Weare

      Katherine Weare answered on 13 Apr 2015:

      I have four children myself as well as working in the area of wellbeing, and the answer is a pretty heartfelt ‘concerned’. The internet and social media can be, and are, of course, being used for the good by all of us including young people seeking information, connection with others and influence in the world. However it is no substitute for flesh and blood relationships rather than 500 or so ‘friends’. I am concerned about the situation where young people would rather text someone in the same room rather than talk to them. And problems such as cyberbullying, linked to isolation and misery, and sometimes self harm and even suicide would appear to be growing. The anonymity and sense of disconnect social media can offer are a real problem.