Year: 2020 Source: North Carolina Medical Journal. (2020). 81(2), 116-121. DOI: SIEC No: 20200804

The technology landscape has rapidly evolved in recent years, with social media now playing a central role in the lives of youth. Social media has created both significant new challenges and exciting opportunities. Research is beginning to uncover how specific social media experiences may influence youth mental health.
Digital technologies have become a universal feature of young people’s lives. Exposure to screens begins early in life for many youth, with US children under age two spending an average of 42 minutes per day with screen media [1]. By the time youth reach adolescence, most are fully immersed in a world of smartphones, computers, and social media. Recent nationally representative statistics suggest that 95% of adolescents aged 13-18 have access to a smartphone and 88% have access to a desktop or laptop at home [2]. In 2018, 45% of US adolescents reported that they were online “almost constantly,” up from 24% only three years prior [2]. The pervasiveness of new media has created an increasingly complex environment for youth, parents, health care providers, and policymakers to navigate. Indeed, while this media environment has introduced numerous new challenges and risks for youth mental health, so too has it presented considerable benefits and opportunities.