Preston UCLan students and staff reveal their fears about social media's harmful impact, including negative influencers and online shaming

Several Preston people have revealed their fears about social media’s damaging impact.

By Laura Longworth
Friday, 29th July 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 29th July 2022, 4:15 pm

The Lancashire Post spoke to UCLan staff and students about their biggest worries regarding platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

One staff member says she rarely posts online as she worries about information "sticking" to her in the future.

The mum uses networking platforms to find out about family activities but says she does not share personal details about herself. She believes social media apps make it too easy to shame people for their past.

Photo Neil Cross; Reporter Laura Longworth giving up social media for a week with the help of Professor Janet Read

She said: "There’s lots of information I can find, essentially for my kids’ activities. But I’m not putting my life on social media because you don’t know in 20 years’ time what’s going to happen, where the information is going, and for what purpose.

"When you’re 20-years-old, you may say something you don’t mean or believe at 40. And that's the problem I’ve got with social media: information isn’t necessarily being deleted or removed after a period of time. It could be sticking to you for something you may have done 20 years ago. So socially, that is creating a worry: it could be used against you, and people are changing.”

Meanwhile, one student says he worries about social media users with many followers posting harmful content.

He said: "I just want people, those who have a lot of followers, to be influencing in a very good way. I like posts that are actually relevant to social causes. That’s my main concern.”

The international student admits to logging onto networking apps "too much" but believes overuse has become normalised in his generation, adding: “Everything happens on social media.”