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Digital friendships: the role of technology in young people’s relationships

For Safer Internet Day 2018, the UK Safer Internet Centre commissioned an online survey of 2000 young people aged 8-17 years, which was conducted by Censuswide.

The findings reveal how central technology is to young people’s relationship and the many different platforms they are using to interact with each other. It also highlights both the positive and negative role that technology can play in young people’s relationships and that whilst they are proactively helping to build a better internet, they also want support from the adults in their lives to do so.

This report shines a light on both the positive and negative role that technology can play in young people’s relationships. It demonstrates how digital technology is embedded throughout young people’s friendships, across a range of platforms and diverse communication methods. It shows how young people want support from their friends, family and school to help them navigate the complexities of digital friendship and the risks and pressures that may arise.

It is essential that we collectively take action to help young people harness the positive opportunities offered by technology for connection, self-expression and support, while empowering them with strategies to cope with any negatives, and help to create an online environment that seeks to promote young people’s wellbeing.