Earlier this month, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) presidential panel issued new recommendations surrounding adolescent social media use.
In their report, the panel claimed that even though social platforms have the ability to foster healthy socialization, adolescents should be trained in social media literacy before use in order to maximize the potential for safe experiences online.
According to APA President Thema Bryant, the effects of social media are not inherently clean-cut– resulting in no benefit nor harm outright.
“But because young people mature at different rates, some are more vulnerable than others to the content and features on many social media platforms that science has demonstrated can influence healthy development,” Bryant said.
So, much like teens are required to undergo training to get their driver’s licenses, Bryant believes social media literacy training is increasingly important.
Parents and educators are likely at the head of this early intervention effort. Thereafter, mental health practitioners, policymakers, technology companies, and adolescents themselves will also be involved.
That’s why Bryant formed an advisory panel in order to offer guidance to all concerned parties. The panel examined relevant research to craft a recommendation report entitled “American Psychological Association Health Advisory on Social Media Use in Adolescence,” aimed at ensuring youths form balanced social media habits.
The report ultimately included ten recommendations, which the advisory panel noted do not apply to all adolescents.
“Scientific findings offer one piece of information that can be used along with knowledge of specific youths’ strengths, weaknesses, and context to make decisions that are tailored for each teen, family, and community,” the report states.