TO celebrate the Year of Young People, every week in 2018 The National is giving a platform to young Scots. This week, 14-year-old Emma Stevens

The National:

I WAKE up, get ready for school and I look at my phone.

When I’m at school I go to all my classes and then at break and lunch I look at my phone.

After school I walk home, and then I look at my phone.

I usually have dinner at 6pm, I attend whatever club I have that evening and then I look at my phone again.

Once home, I have one last check before going to bed.

It wasn’t until recently that I realised that my life revolves around my phone. If someone asked me what object I could not live without, in an instant I would say my phone. I don’t go anywhere without it and I can’t go without it for a day. But my question not only to myself but to hundreds of other young people is: why do we use our phones so much when sometimes they make us feel upset?

I use my phone to keep up with my friends, see what celebrities are up to and to see what the latest fashion is. It is good that I can keep in touch with my friends and know what is going on in the world, but every so often I come off my phone feeling sad when I see social media promoting perfect people with perfect lives.

Millions of teenage girls and boys feel the same way, whether it is about body image, not having the nicest clothes or not feeling popular enough. The Independent newspaper did a recent survey that showed that one in five people said they feel upset when using social media. Girls like me feel pressured to post perfect pictures, to have hourglass figures and to look amazing at all times.

The impact that social media has on young people is huge, and anorexia, bulimia and other mental health issues are very significant in the young community. In fact 10% of adolescents go through some form of depression that is linked to social media.

Young people need to be more informed about the link between mental health and social media. Just because it isn’t physically visible doesn’t mean it isn’t as important as being physically injured. Whilst some people are being taught about mental health awareness at school or at youth clubs, that is still not enough.

We only have limited control of what comes up on our feed or what pictures pop up, but we are in full control of how much something is going to affect us and how much time we spend on social media. This is why as young people we need to look out for one another and make sure one another are okay.

Most importantly, we need to look after ourselves and inform people if we are experiencing mental health issues. There is help available out there to help us and it’s time we start using it.

If you are facing mental health issues there are many places to get the support you need. There are many support groups funded by the NHS that are available to everyone.