Tweens, Teens, Tech, and Mental Health: Coming of Age in an Increasingly Digital, Uncertain, and Unequal World, 2020
July 29, 2020
In the years leading up to 2020, researchers and advocates expressed growing concerns about a mental health crisis among young people in the United States. Alongside rising rates of depression and suicide, increased social media and technology use seemed like an obvious culprit at first—but the latest findings tell a more complex and nuanced story.
When the coronavirus pandemic upended our lives, it introduced new social distancing requirements, public health challenges, and social unrest. Almost overnight, school, social activities, and work were all pushed online. It's too early to know the lasting effects of this radical shift in behavior. Instead, this report seeks to understand how best to reach adolescents who are disproportionately affected and most vulnerable, support them in digital spaces, and improve their mental health outcomes.
The in-depth literature review, combined with essays from leading experts, synthesizes what's known about associations between digital technology use and adolescent mental health—and outlines what stakeholders can do to help.