Link between social media and crime revealed in youth survey

More than 300 youth from Hornby have responded to a survey regarding their concerns about social media, youth offending, and mental health.

Family service provider Te Whare Awhero sent out the Youth Voice Project survey in October with the aim of discovering how the adults of Hornby can best support the younger population.

The survey asked seven key questions, ranging from the role of social media in the lives of students to the pressures they feel and how this impacts their lives.

The results showed from 319 responses, more than 85 per cent of students in years 7 to 10 engage with social media and more than half of year 8 to year 10 students engage with four plus platforms.

Carey Ewing.
Carey Ewing.
“It indicates that social media is not a niche activity, but a mainstream part of their lives,” said Te Whare Awhero director Carey Ewing.

The connection between social media and exposure to criminal activity was explored in the survey, with 58.5 per cent of year 7 and 8 students and 46 per cent of year 9 and 10 students reporting exposure to videos of criminal activity, crimes being committed, fights or ram raids.

Seventy-two per cent of those respondents reported knowing the perpetrators of the crimes they had witnessed.

One student, aged 17, responded to the survey question: “What role does social media play in your life?”. The student said: “Social media is s**t and not healthy, it needs to be regulated or monitored for under 18s."

Another student, 15, answered the question with: “It’s a way to share life experiences and communicate with one another.”

Eighty-five per cent of the students responded to questions with an emphasis on the critical importance of support and well-being, and 70 per cent wanted less pressure and expectations from adults and society to allow room for personal growth.

A student in year 7 said: “Life would be better if adults knew that it just gets harder and harder at school the older you get, that pressures increase and it sometimes feels too much.

“That the pressures come from school, teachers, parents, family and community to be something – to do this, to do that. I just need support.”

Ewing said 75 per cent of respondents said when adults actively listen to their ideas, opinions and feelings, it validates their experiences and perspectives.

"And makes them feel valued and respected, enhancing their self-esteem and self-expression.”

Other answers related to peer influences and pressure, including concerns about substance abuse, loneliness, safety and gaps in understanding each other.

Said Ewing: “The survey highlights the modern challenges of school life. The recurring theme of mental health underscores the urgency of addressing this critical issue among the youth. Initiatives promoting mental health awareness and access to resources are key.”

He said it was evident the role social media “plays various roles in the lives of youth”, including in entertainment, emotional management, communication, and both “helpful and unhelpful aspects”.

Said Ewing: “As we navigate the complexities of modern society, it is imperative to provide a platform for the voices of our youth to be heard.”

Te Whare Awhero, with Hornby High School, the CDN Trust, The Graeme Dingle Foundation and Hornby Youth Trust will be hosting a meeting at 7pm on November 29 at the Hornby Club to discuss the findings.

“The students told us they actually want interactions with trusted adults, to spend time and connect to the wider community,” said Ewing.

“The focus of the hui is to encourage adults to take the time to invest in relationships with the young people around them.”

Wigram MP Megan Woods will be closing the meeting.

“Growing up has a lot of pressure, a lot of stresses and is complicated: we need to talk with our youth," Woods said.

“This meeting will be a great opportunity to build on the work of the Hornby community and organisations who have already put in the time to begin to understand their needs.”

Youth affairs Christchurch city councillor Tyla Harrison Hunt will MC the meeting, which will include speakers such as youth health advocate Dame Sue Bagshaw, Hornby High youth leaders, and support providers.

  • The free meeting will be held at the Hornby Club from 7-8.30pm on November 29. RSVP via Facebook.