APA Recommends Smart, Sensible Social Media Use For Adolescents


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In the May 2023 article entitled, “APA Recommends Smart, Sensible Social Media Use for Adolescents,” Evi Arthur provides the following points:

Social media in and of itself isn’t beneficial or harmful.  The impact of social media on adolescents depends on individual characteristics, social circumstances, and the content consumed.

The APA findings don’t apply universally.  They depend on age-appropriate use of social media such as level of maturity, and home environment.

Parents are encouraged to be aware of negative content that may be circulating on the internet.

Here are specific recommendations:

  1. Adolescents should be encouraged to find supportive communities that foster companionship and socialization. This will help young people lessen stress and increase connection with like-minded people.
  2. Adolescents should be informed and educated that their online information and behavior can be used, stored, or shared.
  3. Adults should use security measures, but these measures need to be balanced with the adolescents need for privacy (ages 10-14). The security measures can gradually be removed as the young person starts to understand the internet and gains digital literacy.
  4. Exposure to contact depicting illegal or dangerous behavior should be minimized because it can lead to negative psychological symptoms.
  5. Exposure to negative behavior such as bullying, cyberhate, or discrimination should be avoided.
  6. Routine screening for problematic social media use is important. Indicators include craving, excessive use, and disruption of daily life.
  7. Social media use should not interfere with sleep, physical activities, or social interactions. These can lead to increased rates of depression and suicide risk.
  8. Avoid social comparison, especially around appearance or beauty focused content.  This can create negative body image or depressive symptoms.

For additional recommendations, please see the Psych Congress Network article.

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