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Children are seeking counselling over job fears caused by social media

According to The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, children are stressed about exams because social media leads to them worrying about the job market.

In the past two years, the NSPCC has observed an 11% rise in counselling sessions for exam-stress-affected children. It theorised that children who don’t read newspapers or watch the news were more likely to read about economic gloom due to articles shared on social networks like Facebook.

The charity’s Childline helpline has been drowned with calls from thousands of children worried about their SATs and GCSEs, according to the Telegraph. A spike in calls in May 2016 coincided with the SATs exams that thousands of children from primary school are taking this week.

Around half of the 3,135 counselling sessions regarding exam stress was with children aged 12 to 15, while 237 were with children aged 11 and under. The biggest rise, however, registered among children aged 16-18, who were taking A-levels to get into university. Counselling sessions for this age group had increased by 21%.

What is peculiar is the fact that children in their early teens had worried more similar to those experienced by university students about getting a job. Furthermore, they were more likely to compare themselves with other kids posting on social media about job searches and exam results. They also began worrying about the economy after hearing their parents talking about it.

The job market is more and more competitive, now that a record number of students graduate from university with 2:1 degrees and many of them fail to find work that is graduate-level.

A spokesman for NSPCC said: “Pressure to keep up with how much revision their friends are doing or how others are performing in exams might potentially cause stress, doubt and anxiety.

“Young people may also be more aware that they face a tough job market and this coupled with pressure at home and school is a lot to deal with.”

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, declared: “Every year we hear from thousands of children who are struggling to cope with the pressure to succeed in exams.

“For some this can feel so insurmountable that it causes crippling anxiety and stress and in some cases contributes to mental health issues or even suicidal thoughts and feelings.”

Daisy Wilder