Last week, Mitch Prinstein, the chief science officer at the American Psychological Association (APA), testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the role that social media plays in children’s mental health. His 22-page testimony is incredibly informative, and National Public Radio (NPR) has ten key points that families should know. Read the full article for additional information on each point.

  1. Social interaction is key to every child’s growth and development.
  2. Social media platforms often traffic in the wrong kind of social interaction.
  3. It’s not all bad.
  4. Adolescence is a “developmentally vulnerable period” when teens crave social rewards, but don’t have the ability to restrain themselves.
  5. “Likes” can make bad behavior look good.
  6. Social media can also make “psychologically disordered behavior” look good.
  7. Extreme social media use can look a lot like addiction.
  8. The threat of online bullying is real.
  9. It’s hard not to compare yourself to what you see in social media.
  10. Sleep is more important than those “likes.”

Check out the full article from NPR for more information on each of these points, and consider sitting down with your child or teenager and discussing the article with them. If you’re not sure where to start the conversation, use PTA’s The Smart Talk program to help. Your PTA can use The Smart Talk and other PTA Connected programs to help your families help their kids be safer and more responsible online.

Photo courtesy of Bicanski and Pixnio under Creative Commons license.