New age technology and social media: adolescent psychosocial implications and the need for protective measures (2019)

Shah, Jay; Das, Prithwijit; Muthiah, Nallammai; Milanaik, Ruth

Current Opinion in Pediatrics: February 2019 – Volume 31 – Issue 1 – p 148–156

doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000714

OFFICE PEDIATRICS: Edited by Henry H. Bernstein

Purpose of review In recent years, breakthroughs and advancements in new age technology have revolutionized the way children communicate and interact with the world around them. As social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat continue to grow in popularity, their usage has raised concerns about their role and impact on adolescent development and behavior. This review examines the psychosocial implications of social media usage on youth outcomes related to body image, socialization, and adolescent development. It discusses ways that clinicians and parents can effectively safeguard their children from the potential threats posed by digital media while providing a fact sheet for parents that addresses these concerns and summarizes recommended strategies to combat them.

Recent findings While social media platforms continue to experience surges in popularity, mounting evidence suggests significant correlations between their usage and adolescent mental health and behavioral issues. Increased social media usage has been linked to diminished self-esteem and body satisfaction, elevated risk of cyber-bullying, heightened exposure to pornographic material, and risky sexual behaviors.

Summary Given how new age technology is steadily permeating everyday life, greater efforts are needed to inform adolescent users and their families about the negative consequences of social media usage. Pediatricians and parents must take cautionary measures to reduce psychosocial risks and ensure the online safety of children.