Coping with COVID-19: How Young People Use Digital Media to Manage Their Mental Health
March 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. After a year of lockdowns and remote schooling and the disruption of social norms, teens and young adults are reporting growing levels of depression, stress, and anxiety.
Common Sense partnered with Hopelab and the California Health Care Foundation to better understand how young people have been using social media and digital health tools to take care of their mental health during the pandemic. Our new report, Coping with COVID-19: How Young People Use Digital Media to Manage Their Mental Health (ISSN: 2767-0163), reveals that depression rates have increased significantly since 2018, especially among teens and young adults who have had coronavirus infections in their homes. Exposure to hate speech on social media also is on the rise.
The good news is that young people are proactive in supporting their own mental health. Despite the negative content they see, digital media has been a lifeline for many of them to access critical health information, stay connected to their peers, find inspiration, and receive comfort in a difficult time.
In addition to quantitative data, the report brings the experiences of young people into focus through their own words, and provides insight into how we can best support them in their mental health journeys.
This pre-pandemic snapshot of young kids' media use presents a unique opportunity to understand the impact of the pandemic when combined with future research. But the results of this report are vitally important to finding solutions that provide all children with access to media that supports learning, health, and opportunity.
- Coping with COVID-19 Fact Sheet: COVID-19, depression, and social media use / El coronavirus, la depresión y el uso de redes sociales entre adolescentes y adultos jóvenes (de 14 a 22 años).
- Coping with COVID-19 Fact Sheet: Black youth
- Coping with COVID-19 Fact Sheet: Hispanic/Latinx youth / La salud mental, las prácticas de salud digital y el uso de redes sociales entre adolescentes y adultos jóvenes hispanos / latinos en Estados Unidos (de 14 a 22 años).
- Coping with COVID-19 Fact Sheet: LGBTQ+ youth
- Coping with COVID-19 Fact Sheet: Female youth
- Coping with COVID-19 Fact Sheet: Problematic substance use
- Coping with COVID-19 Fact Sheet: Telehealth
- Get recommendations on the best mental health digital tools and apps.
- Read tips for parents on supporting your teen's mental health / Las redes sociales y la salud mental. Consejos para familias con niños mayores y adolescentes.
- Read our previous report on teens, tech, and mental health.
- Read our blog on how to build a healthy digital ecosystem that supports young people and mental health.
If you need help now:
National Suicide Hotline
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741