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Dame Joanna Lumley thinks social media is ruining children’s lives

Dame Joanna Lumley believes too much screen time is ruining children’s lives credit:Bang Showbiz
Dame Joanna Lumley believes too much screen time is ruining children’s lives credit:Bang Showbiz

Dame Joanna Lumley thinks social media causes "harrowing" problems for young people.

The 77-year-old actress believes platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have "amplified and distorted" the pressures faced by teenagers so called for both parents and their kids to spend less time online and have more face-to-face conversations instead.

She told Britain's HELLO! magazine: “The pressures they face are very different to my day. Having to be seen to be happy and look their best all the time – I mean those pressures were there when I was growing up but it’s all amplified and distorted by social media today.

“And children and teenagers can’t escape it – especially when bullying has moved online, having to deal with it in and out of school – it must be truly harrowing.

“Many children and young people are more exposed to things they shouldn’t be and worry about adult issues. We all need to spend less time on our screens – parents and children. Finding a balance between the digital and real world is so important and I think the solution for all of us is to talk more.

“So much of parenting is about learning, and of learning together – it helps children build resilience and overcome the tough things in life."

The former 'Avengers' star - who has 56-year-old son Jamie with Michael Claydon and is married to conductor Stephen Barlow - believes education is hugely important and particularly believes in the power of music.

She said: "Education is so important and the more fun you can make it the easier it is to get young people interested.

“Music is one of the best conduits for learning – I’m a big fan of playing classical music and singing for children – so many won’t have heard some of the wonderful music I heard as a child if it’s not played at home as it seems to me classical music has been largely taken out of schools. Have some favourite songs you all enjoy as a family and don’t be bashful about singing all together in the car!”

And Joanna thinks the "greatest gift" any parent can give their child is simply unconditional love.

She said: “My advice to new parents would be to give your children unconditional love, it’s the greatest gift we have as a parent. I also remember my parents giving me advice when I was young - it didn’t seem to make much sense at the time, but it has always stayed with me and now makes complete sense!

“I’ve noticed it’s often hard for a young child to admit they need help too.  Sometimes I’ve tried an indirect approach, for example when cooking a meal with a child, just gently broaching an issue while doing something enjoyable together.”