Banbury MP’s behaviour changed by month of no social media

Victoria Prentis MP is supporting the campaign Scroll Free September
Victoria Prentis MP is supporting the campaign Scroll Free September

North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis believes her behaviour has changed for the better after going a month without using social media.

The Conservative MP for Banbury took part in the Royal Society for Public Health’s Scroll Free September campaign for a number of reasons but mainly to raise awareness of the platforms’ negative effects.

Ms Prentis told the Banbury Guardian: “It was surprisingly difficult and I’m not all that ‘techie’ - I’m not 17. But it definitely changed my behaviour. My children noticed that I wasn’t on the phone so much.

The MP, who is vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, backed the campaign after a report revealed the negative effects of regular social media use can lead to heightened feelings of anxiety and depression, poor sleep, body image issues and fear of missing out (FOMO).

Ms Prentis said there were a couple of times where is was inconvenient not being able to use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, but on the whole, she found the experience beneficial.

“I won’t be jumping straight back into it though. I have been doing more things and I think you can concentrate more on what you do,” she said.

“We are allowed to have mobiles in the House of Commons and it is useful for things like looking up statistics.

“I think we do have to be very careful about our phone use and the amount of social media interaction we have.”

Ms Prentis has disabled comments on her Facebook page and blocked persistent offenders since the 2017 General Election due to the amount of abusive posts.