Thursday, June 13, 2024

Are smartphones and social media harming teen mental health? Here’s why experts are split

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Stephanie Sy:

Ninety-five percent of American teenagers now have access to smartphones and about a third of them report being on social media almost constantly.

But several studies examining the impacts that’s having on overall teen mental health have produced mixed results. A report from the National Academy of Sciences in December concluded that, contrary to the current cultural narrative that social media is universally harmful to adolescents, the reality is more complicated.

Social media can offer both connections and a safe space for young people, especially for LGBTQ+ teens. But it can also encourage harmful behaviors and take the place of sleep, exercise and other social activities.

Also, frequent social media use may lead to worse body image for some teen girls and make them more vulnerable to eating disorders.

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