Impact of social media on children’s mental health is a ‘real tragedy for our time’, says new private schools chief

“The tragedies in the world, the problems in conflict areas, the disease, issues causing mass migration are in the consciousness of young people more than ever before,” he said.

“They are now on their phone feed constantly, every 10 seconds. Those complexities are very different to what they have been for young people before.

“The technology also chases children into what were private spaces in their family homes and can create new opportunities for anxiety, bullying and destruction.”

Endorsing The Daily Telegraph’s campaign for a statutory duty of care on the industry, he said it was time for social media firms to do more to provide “a safe and managed” environment online for children which could include “healthy” time limits.

He also backed new laws to rein in the firms, saying our relationship with social media needed to be “recalibrated.” “The platform providers have a part to play and I am sure there is a role for regulation,” he said.

He was, however, concerned mental ill health, unlike physical illness, was still shrouded in stigma which meant children found it difficult to tell parents, teachers or carers they were suffering. “We need to normalise it to encourage people to come forward and get support,” he said.

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