Archive for publications, 2020

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[Commlist] Report examining relationship between teens’ tech use and mental health

Tue Jun 30 21:59:34 GMT 2020

New report offers insights into the relationship between social media use
and youth wellbeing -

Social Media and Youth Wellbeing: What We Know and Where We Could Go

Report: <>

Authors: Mimi Ito, Candice Odgers, and Stephen Schueller.

Contributors: Jennifer Cabrera, Evan Conaway, Remy Cross, and Maya

About the report:

Fears abound about how social media, smartphones, and digital games are
leading to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. What is
under-discussed and under-investigated is how such technologies can foster
social connection and engagement in ways that can build wellbeing among
young people.

The Social Media and Youth Wellbeing position paper highlights the need to
move beyond the simple question of whether more time spent using social
media causes mental health problems in adolescents. Instead, people should
consider the specific forms of social media engagement that amplify or
mitigate mental health risks for different adolescents. The team integrated
findings from existing large-scale reviews, the voices of youth who have
grown up on social media, and a systematic review of digital mental health
apps available for youth.

The paper found that young people are actively seeking information and
support for mental health and wellbeing online, and that "most teens and
tweens say social media help support social-emotional wellbeing, boosting
confidence and alleviating anxiety, loneliness, and depression."

The position paper is a product of the Wellbeing for Connected Youth
project at the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California,
Irvine, an interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to studying,
designing, and mobilizing digital technology in youth-centered and
equitable ways.

The goal of the Youth Connections for Wellbeing project is to identify,
support, test, and communicate new digital strategies for tapping young
people’s insights, agency, and technology engagements to support wellbeing.

From the report:

"We found that misplaced fears are deflecting attention from other real
concerns, resulting in missed opportunities for leveraging technology and
online communication to address adolescent mental health problems."

"Our review of opportunities for intervention and design uncovered a
significant gap between youth desire for mental health support and what is
being offered by digital mental health professionals."

"Substantial changes are required in the way we measure, conceptualize, and
approach the questions of whether, for whom, and how social media
engagement is influencing young people’s wellbeing."

"The strongest signals we have that youth are struggling or require mental
health support are not coming from tracking their social media usage or
time online."

Learn more and download the report:

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