"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Experts issue recent guidelines on social media use by teenagers

May 9, 2023 – Just as a teen must complete driving training before getting a license, young people must be trained in how you can use social media safely, says the leading U.S. organization for therapists and psychologists.

The recent List of 10 guidelines also includes commonly heard recommendations to limit and monitor young people's use of social media. It is the primary time the American Psychological Association has issued recommendations on social media use, which it calls “health advice.” The organization said a panel of experts based the rules on research and science.

The authors didn't comment on whether or not they imagine social media use is harmful, but actually discussed its potential advantages at length. They noted that social media use might help combat social isolation, especially for youngsters who “experience adversity or isolation in offline settings.”

Recommendations include:

  • A monitor must be used especially for 10 to 14 12 months olds, as brain development just isn't yet fully developed during this age period and self-control just isn't yet mature and won't be fully developed until maturity.
  • Teach young people who social media shouldn't be used for social comparison, “especially with regard to content related to beauty or appearance.”
  • Make sure social media use is acceptable for the adolescent's maturity level. Remember that age appropriateness is determined by self-regulation skills, mental development, risk awareness, and residential environment.

Politicians and health experts have recently raised the alarm a couple of link between social media use and rising rates of mental health problems amongst youth, including self-harm and suicidal thoughts. The authors of the American Psychological Association report also found that the best way social media platforms determine what content someone sees can contribute to racism and violence.

“For example, algorithms (that is, a set of mathematical instructions that guide users' everyday experiences, right down to the posts they see) can often carry centuries of racist policies and discrimination,” the authors write. “Social media can become an incubator, providing community and education that fuels racist hatred. The resulting potential impacts are far-reaching, including offline physical violence and threats to well-being.”