American Psychological Association Highlights New Research Efforts on Social Media’s Impact on Adolescents

On September 7, Research!America hosted a discussion with the American Psychological Association (APA). During the discussion, APA’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Mitch Prinstein, shared APA’s new research focus on the effects of social media use on adolescents. The findings highlight the need for further investment into social science research that informs safer policy and ensures healthier online environments for our nation’s youth.

A few critical concerns from the research study include:

  • Prevalent racism and biases coded into social media algorithms, reflecting societal disparities.
  • A pressing need to discern the type of social media content conducive for a child’s healthy development versus content that may be harmful.
  • Evidence suggesting social media usage reduces adolescents’ sleep duration, potentially impairing brain growth.
  • Data revealing that 95 percent of teenagers exceed their anticipated screen time on social media platforms, with a concerning 1-in-4 confessing to dealing with a form of addiction.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Prinstein underscored the importance of platform transparency and advocated for social media literacy initiatives to help pave the way for a safer digital future.
APA is actively looking into ways to harness its research expertise and best practices, aiming for a collaborative approach with both public and private sectors. APA is a COSSA governing member organization.


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