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Mental Health

New research from ReachOut on teens and tech, connecting parents and carers with insights and support

ReachOut 4 mins read

Mental health organisation ReachOut has released new research in a bid to bridge the gap between the concerns of parents and carers and their teens on social media and technology in order to promote support and wellbeing. 

 

According to new research by ReachOut (nationally representative survey of 631 parents and carers, April 2023), almost 60 per cent (59%) of parents and carers said that their teens’ social media use was of concern to them and 35 per cent said it was their top issue of concern. Almost half (47%) of parents and carers were concerned about their teens’ internet use and almost a quarter (24%) said it was their top issue of concern. 

 

Approximately 30 per cent of parents and carers who were concerned about their teens’ use of social media (28%) and internet use (27%) said it had ‘a lot’ of impact on their teens’ wellbeing. 

 

56 per cent of parents and carers who selected social media or the internet as their top issue of concern said they only felt moderately equipped to deal with it.

 

In contrast, in recent research by ReachOut, young people ranked social media outside of their top 10 issues of concern at number 24 (nationally representative survey of 667 young people in September 2022) below issues such as the cost of living, loneliness and study stress. And importantly, 57 per cent of young people reported spending time on digital platforms or social media to cope with the various concerns and worries in their life. 

 

Director of Service at ReachOut, Jackie Hallan, said that by comparing how teens view social media and internet use with their parents and carers we can start to bridge the gaps and address the support needs of both teens and parents and carers. 

 

“In ReachOut’s latest research with parents and carers across the country it is clear that social media and internet use continues to be an area of concern. In fact, for many parents and carers it is their top concern when it comes to their teens. 

 

“Those concerns are really valid and this is backed up by the data on the number of parents and carers reporting significant mental health impacts as a result of social media and internet use on their teens. 

 

“By overlaying this new research with data from young people, we hope to provide useful insights for parents and carers on how to best support their teens. For example, knowing that in some cases your teen might be turning to social media and technology to help them cope when something is going on for them rather than tech being the issue can be a turning point. 

 

“We also want to remind parents and carers that they are not alone when it comes to navigating the challenges that can come with teens and tech and encourage them to visit ReachOut Parents for free information, support and coaching. 

 

“We will use this research to continue to work in partnership with parents, carers, young people, governments, brands and tech companies to ensure that families across Australia have access to the support they need,” she said. 

 

For information, support and coaching parents and carers can visit ReachOut Parents and young people can visit ReachOut

 

ReachOut Parents is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

 

ENDS

 

 

Media contact 

Tessa Anderssen / tessa@reachout.com / 0411 708 587

 

Key statistics 

Parents and carers stats taken from a nationally representative survey of 631 parents and carers caring for 921 young people aged 12–18 years of age, April 2023. 

  • 59% of parents and carers said that their teens’ social media use was of concern to them. 
  • 35% of parents and carers said that their teens’ social media use was one of their top issues of concern. 
  • 47% of parents and carers said they were concerned about their teens’ internet use.  
  • 24%  of parents and carers said their teens’ internet use was one of their top issues of concern. 
  • 28% of parents and carers said that their teens’ social media use was having “a lot” of impact on their teens’ wellbeing. 
  • 27% of parents and carers said that their teens’ internet use was having “a lot” of impact on their teens’ wellbeing. 
  • 56% of parents and carers who selected social media as their top issue of concern said they felt moderately equipped to deal with it.  
  • 56% of parents and carers who selected internet use as their top issue of concern said they felt moderately equipped to deal with it. 

 

Youth stats taken from a nationally representative survey of 667 young people in September 2022. See full report here

 

  • Social media ranked 24th in the list of top concerns that young people selected, below issues such as the cost of living, loneliness and study stress. 
  • 57% of young people reported spending time on digital platforms or social media to cope with the various concerns and worries in their life. 

 

Support for parents and carers:

Support for young people 

Safe reporting 


ReachOut encourages safe reporting about mental ill health as per the Mindframe guidelines.


About us:

About ReachOut

ReachOut is the leading online mental health service in Australia supporting young people during tough times.

ReachOut helps young people feel better about today and the future, no matter what challenge they’re facing. They provide a safe place where young people can openly express themselves, explore what’s happening in their lives, connect with people who understand their situation, and find the resources to help them manage their challenges now and in the future.

Anonymous, free and 100% online, ReachOut has been designed specifically for – and with – young people. From one-to-one support from experienced peer workers, to online forums, as well as tips, stories and resources, ReachOut offers a wide range of support options that allow young people to engage in the ways they want to, when they want to, and has been doing so for more than 20 years.

And, ReachOut Parents and ReachOut Schools provide valuable information, resources and advice to help parents, carers and educators to better understand the young people in their lives and to play an active role in their wellbeing.


Contact details:

Tessa Anderssen / tessa@reachout.com / 0411 708 587

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