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Teens and social media

September 29, 2023

There’s no denying that social media plays a large role in the lives of today’s teenagers. Studies show they’re 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 for 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.

Now, the American Psychological Association has new guidelines for parents. Experts suggest monitoring all social media use for kids ages 10-14. Experts also 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.

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

Experts say it’s also a good idea to talk to your teen about how to think critically when using social media.

For example, parents can encourage teems to fact-check the information they come across and discuss any questions they have.