According to new recommendations released on Tuesday, the American Psychological Association recommends that teens undergo training before entering the sometimes fun, but sometimes dangerous world of social media.
Dr. Thema Bryant is the president of APA. He said that social media was neither harmful nor helpful to our youth. Dr. Thema Bryant, the APA's president, said that social media is neither harmful nor beneficial to our youth.
According to a press release from the APA, Bryant convened an advisory panel that reviewed scientific literature on social media usage and made recommendations for a healthy teen use.
The American Psychological Association Health Advisory on Social Media Use among Adolescents released ten recommendations for educators, parents and policymakers as well as mental health and healthcare practitioners, technology companies, and adolescents.
To minimize the potential harm, it is recommended that teens receive training in social media literacy as well as psychological development prior to joining social media. They should also be given periodic training to enhance their knowledge.
The experts also recommend that children's social media usage should be tailored according to their developmental stage and monitored by adults for younger children.
The release stated that it is important to limit content that promotes cyberbullying or bullying, self-harming, eating disorders, discrimination and hate.
Also, the recommendations encourage adolescents to limit their social media use so that it does not interfere with their sleep or physical activities.
All rules do not work for every teenager
The panel stated that optimal social media usage will not look the same for every child. This is why recommendations should be coupled with an understanding of the individual strengths, weakness and context.
The release stated that 'Age appropriate use of social media' should be based upon each adolescent’s maturity level (e.g. self-regulation, intellectual development and understanding of risks), as well as their home environment.
The release also stated that there was a lack sufficient research on the use of social media by 'youths from racial or ethnic groups, youths of different genders, races, or sexual orientations, or youths with developmental or medical conditions or chronic health problems'.
The APA, based on the available research, cannot determine if social media are helpful or harmful for young people. This is especially true when you consider both the dangers of harmful content as well as the benefits of socialization.
The APA will monitor research developments on current and future platforms. Dr. Arthur C. Evans Jr. is the CEO of the APA.
He said: 'We hope that these recommendations will help us all keep up with the rapidly changing social media ecosystem.'