Nick Stace, the CEO of Prince’s Trust, has said that people need to find a way to use social media “in a way that does not harm” them.
A survey by the youth education charity found that 57 per cent of 16-25 year olds believe social media creates an “overwhelming pressure” to succeed.
Mr Stace told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham: “We all live in the world and it is all around us to consume, but we just need to work out how to consume it and how to do it in a way that does not harm us.
“One of the great thing that came through the Prince’s Trust survey is that what makes people happy is spending time with their family and friends.
“What makes them unhappy is spending the amount they do on social media.
“Social media is addictive. I find it very difficult not to look at my phone.”
He added: “This is not just about young people, this is an issue that affects everyone in society.”
'This fear of missing out'
The Prince’s Trust also found more than a third of young people worry that they will never be as happy as the people they see on social media.
Digital Minister Margot James is set to announce on Tuesday new plans to force social media companies to remove illegal content and sign a code of conduct to protect vulnerable users.
“On the one hand, social media is making young people unhappy,” Mr Stace said.
“It is making them unhappy because there is tremendous pressure as other people’s lives seem to be so much more successful than their own.
“They feel inadequate and then there is this fear of missing out. Then on the other side, 32% said that it was actually a great voice for them and that they were actually able to give voice to their views and they could actually have a platform so it is not all negative.
“The great challenge with anything that is new – it is here to stay, it would be like uninventing the wheel, it is not going to happen – so we have to deal with it and work out what is the best way to help support our children.”
He added: “I have three children and try to limit their exposure to social media but I don’t ban it.
“It is the world around us and they need to know how to deal with it but we need to help them.”