Teens and Social Media: New Guidelines for Parents


Orlando, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — There’s no denying that social media plays a large role in the lives of today’s teenagers. Studies show teens are online nearly nine hours a day and half report visiting a social media site at least daily. While social media platforms can help kids stay connected with family and friends, they can also be harmful. Now, the American Psychological Association has released new guidelines to help parents navigate teens’ social media use.

A 2019 study found adolescents who spent more than three hours a day using social media had a higher risk for mental health problems.

Lauren Sherman, PhD, Cognitive Neuroscientist says, “Too much of anything is not a good thing.”

Now, the American Psychological Association has issued new guidelines for parents. Experts suggest monitoring all social media use for kids ages 10-14. Also, they urge parents to consider enforcing time limits. One study found limiting screen time to about an hour a day helped anxious teens and young adults feel better about their appearance.

Sherman, PhD says “I think it is really important for parents to become comfortable with these tools, to talk to teens about them. So, it’s really a question of teaching digital literacy.”

You also might want to disable your teen’s location sharing and restrict private messaging, commenting, live-streaming, and in-app purchases. The APA also says watch for signs of problematic use, such as poor sleeping habits, deceptive behaviors, or an inability to carry out daily routines.

Sherman, PhD, explains, “So, it really matters who your teens are friends with online, it matters who they interact with.”

If you suspect your child’s mental health is suffering, you may want to seek professional help. With ways to help teens with social media.

Experts say it’s also a good idea to talk to your teen about how to think critically when using social media. For example, you can encourage them to fact-check the information they come across and discuss any questions they have with you.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.








REPORT #3103

BACKGROUND: Social media is an internet-based form of communication and can be valuable when used properly. Platforms in social media allow users to have conversations, share information, and create web content. Different forms of social media include blogs, micro-blogs, wikis, social networking sites, photo-sharing sites, instant messaging, video-sharing sites, podcasts, widgets, and virtual worlds. On a personal level, social media allows you to communicate with friends and family, learn new things, develop interests, and be entertained. When using it on a professional level, social media can broaden a person’s knowledge in a particular field and build a professional network by connecting with other professionals in a particular industry.

(Source: https://www.usf.edu/ucm/marketing/intro-social-media.aspx)

IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON TEENS: Digital media consumption, also called a “digital diet”, is now the most time-consuming teen activity. Teens currently spend up to nine hours daily consuming digital content, while parents believe their teens spend only three hours per day. Reports show that teens spend more time consuming a digital diet than sleeping. The more time teens spend on social media, the more they are apt to change how they make and interact with friends. Around 57 percent of teens have met a new friend online, but only 20 percent of teens have actually met their online friend in person, and only 25 percent of teens actually spend time with friends in person and outside of school regularly. A Stanford study found dramatic differences in cognitive control and processing information when using heavy amounts of media to multitask. “Nearly two-thirds of teens today tell us they don’t think watching TV or texting while doing homework makes any difference to their ability to study and learn, even though there’s more and more research to the contrary,” says James Steyer, chief executive officer, Common Sense Media.

(Source: https://www.rawhide.org/blog/infographics/teens-digital- diet/?gclid=CjwKCAjwxOymBhAFEiwAnodBLLvz-8SBZxnZQXXSBPq-jK3THtiHkBSXIWPcdRICxUz45Lmy83PqWxoC3fsQAvD_BwE)

NEW STUDY ON SOCIAL MEDIA BENEFITS: Social media can be used as a motivational tool to achieve healthy lifestyle goals such as quitting smoking or attending the gym on a regular basis. Research has shown that sharing a goal publicly not only promotes accountability but helps one stay focused, and dramatically increases one’s chance of success. Another benefit to social media is how it’s helping therapists and psychiatrists extend their reach. Mental health professionals are increasingly using social networking tools such as Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest to collect data that can be used in research. Many teens will post online what they are reluctant to share with their parents. For troubled youth, this makes early intervention by concerned friends and peers more possible. For others, it provides a rich opportunity to experiment with different modes of creative self-expression, which is in itself therapeutic. Mesfin Bekalu, PhD, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says, “Social media forms connections in a different way, watching strangers talking openly about their lives. Indeed, that openness and authenticity has become one of the key hallmarks of social media.”

(Source: https://paintedbrain.org/editorial/7-ways-social-media-can-benefit-mental-health-2?gclid=CjwKCAjwxOymBhAFEiwAnodBLBQfFwc-OP1eeQlCEjoPoil_duThqph1m2GSMlULKRrbwYPPFSXMABoCa18QAvD_BwE)

* For More Information, Contact:

Lauren Sherman, PhD


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