Children as young as five and under are becoming addicted to social media a children’s charity has warned.
The UK arm of the charity Barnardos has released a disturbing report looking at the impact of internet use on the very young children.
The report found more than 60 per cent of professionals who have dealt with vulnerable children were worried about under-fives using social networks.
There are growing fears about the impact of exposure to inappropriate content but also how it may affect their communication skills.
The report used testimony from 80 support workers who work with under-18s at 30 Barnardo’s projects across the UK.
And the report says that platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter are having a “disturbing” impact on the mental health of under-18s.
‘Worries regarding addiction and the substitution of time spent with family for the use of social media were issues that were felt to cause problems related to mental health and emotional wellbeing in this age group,’ the report said.
‘Key apprehensions included the failure to think creatively, interact with others socially and manage their own emotions.’
In the wake of the findings the head of Barnardos in the UK issued a sinister warning about children using the internet.
Chief executive Javed Khan, said: ‘Although the internet offers incredible opportunities to learn and play, it also carries serious new risks from cyberbullying to online grooming.’