What social media does to the teen brain

with No Comments
Despite the headlines, the impact of social apps on adolescent mental health isn’t so clear. Photo: Pexels


(Catherine Pearson/ New York Times) — Every generation has its moral panic and for Gen Z — teenagers today — it is, undoubtedly, social media.

Recent public health warnings have stoked fears in parents that a generation of kids is doomed because they are always online. Girls, the headlines warn, are at particular risk: Mental health-related E.R. visits are up, anxiety is skyrocketing and they are being inundated with images of the “thin body ideal.”

Still, neuroscientists and psychologists who specialize in the teenage brain put it plainly: Yes, social media is of concern because the rapidly developing adolescent brain may be uniquely vulnerable to what the platforms have to offer. But the science is not nearly as settled as some of the most dire headlines would make it seem.

“This is really the first truly digital generation, and we have yet to see how much effect this has,” said Dr. Frances Jensen, a neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of “The Teenage Brain.” (…)

read full story