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(NW) Bulgaria among Countries with Europe’s Largest Rate of Social Media Use by Youths on Non-SchoolDays – Study

November 24 (BTA) – Bulgaria is among the countries with the highest rate of social media use by youths, with six hours or more per day, according to ESPAD, the European School Projects for Alcohol and Drugs. The findings of the study were made public in Bulgaria by psychologist Anina Chileva, a lead ESPAD researcher at the National Centre for Public Health and Analysis. The study was carried out in 2019 in 35 European countries among 99,647 students aged 15 and 16, including 2,800 in Bulgaria. Social media Some 94 per cent of respondents reported having used the social media in the past week. They spent an average of 2-3 hours there on a school day and 6 or more hours on non-school days. In most countries, girls use the social media more than boys. In Bulgaria, 47 per cent of the girls and 27 per cent of the boys use social media 6 or more than 6 hours on non-school days. Only Malta beats Bulgaria with 47 and 34 per cent, respectively. Bulgaria is also among the countries with the biggest relative share of students who don’t use social media: 15 per cent on school days and 10 per cent on non-school days. Europe-wide, an average of 6.4 per cent of youths never used social media in the past school week and 4.4 per cent never used it on non-school days. Chileva commented that the question remains whether not using social media is a conscious choice or due to limited access to the social media. She also pointed out that the study was done in 2019 and the picture is probably much different this year due to the shift to online schooling caused by the coronavirus pandemic. As far as gaming is concerned, 60 per cent of respondents report playing online games on school days in the last month and 69 per cent on non-school days. Bulgaria has the largest relative share (22 per cent) of those who play 6 or more hours per day on non-school days. In most countries, boys spend twice as much time as girls playing online games. There is an obvious reason, comments Chileva. In her words, girls are more social and better communicators while boys are mot competitive and good at setting themselves goals which require victory. In Bulgaria, as elsewhere in Europe, youths see the time spent in social media as more of a problem than gaming, says Chileva. 46 per cent of youths in Europe and 50 per cent in Bulgaria believe that the amount of time spent in social media is a problem. 21 per cent in Europe and 29 per cent in Bulgaria say that the time spent playing digital games is a problem. NV/LN/ //