The headmaster of Solihull School has called Instagram’s plan to hide the number of ‘likes’ on posts a “step in the right direction”.
David EJJ Lloyd said social media places “far too much pressure” on young people.
Instagram launched a trial in Canada in May and plans to do the same in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Brazil.
In the trial, users will see one username and then ‘others’ under the post. People will still be able to see the number of likes they have received on their own posts.
Solihull School champions good mental health, launching its Wellbeing and Personal Development department last year. It focuses on mindfulness and resilience, and addresses PSHEE topics like relationships, sex education, drugs, alcohol and gender equality.
Social media can be a useful tool for connecting with others and sharing things you love, but it can also be something which causes great anxiety
Lloyd said: “Social media places far too much pressure on young people these days and the sense that they are in competition with their peers can be overwhelming.
“It can be a confidence boost to get several ‘likes’ on one of their posts, but when they see their peers have more, this can lead to feelings of failure and the misguided belief that they don’t measure up.
“Another issue is people’s ability to see when other users are active online, on sites such as WhatsApp. When someone doesn’t immediately get a response, they start over-questioning everything, asking themselves ‘What have I done to upset them?’ and ‘Why aren’t they speaking to me?’
“Social media can be a useful tool for connecting with others and sharing things you love, but it can also be something which causes great anxiety.
“Although we can never completely remove the pressures which social media platforms can bring into many young people’s lives, this trial by Instagram is certainly a step in the right direction.”