Social Media Health Recommendations
This spring a presidential panel of the American Psychological Association (APA) has produced recommendations for the use of social media by adolescents. The advisory panel was formed to provide recommendations grounded in research to ensure that adolescents develop healthy social media practices. The result is the American Psychological Association Health Advisory on Social Media Use in Adolescence.
The report notes that while these platforms can promote healthy socialization, their use should be preceded by training in social media literacy to ensure that children and teens have skills that will maximize the chances for balanced, safe and meaningful experiences.
This report notes that social media use is not inherently beneficial or harmful to young people. The effects of social media depend on adolescents' personal and psychological characteristics, social circumstances, and the specific content, features, or functions they encounter on social media platforms.
The report emphasizes that not all findings apply equally to all children and teens. Scientific findings should be used in conjunction with knowledge of specific kids’ strengths, weaknesses, developmental maturity, and contexts to make decisions tailored to each individual.
In addition to the new report, the APA's chief science officer, Dr. Mitch Prinstein, provides Q&A and recommendations for parents on how to help teens develop social media literacy skills. Dr. Prinstein specifically advises parents to:
You can read the APA's recommendations in full here, and Dr. Prinstein's Q&A here.
About the Author
Clinical psychologist Dr. Kristy Novinski contributes insights, book and film reviews, discussions of pop culture, and exploration of news and research in the field of psychology.