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Children’s charity Barnardo’s has recently published research exploring the dangers and benefits of social media usage amongst young people. Entitled ‘Left to their Own Devices’, Barnardo’s official report finds children are being exposed to bullying or inappropriate online content at what appears to be alarming rates. The research interviewed child practitioners, 79% of whom say they have worked with victims of cyberbullying, and 78% reporting that they have assisted in helping children who have been groomed online. Despite sharing alarming statistics on the negative aspects of social media, child practitioners argue that the internet can help decrease loneliness in children and encourage them to bond with others. Because the internet is such an established part of children’s lives, Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javen Khan calls for better online safeguarding measures to be established: “Our job as a society is to make sure children are protected online just as they are offline.”

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