Growing up in the Web of Social Networking: Adolescent Development and Social Media
Jane L. Hur and Mayank Gupta
Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, 671 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.
Background: Social media use among the child and adolescent population is at an all-time high across the
globe. This includes use of networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, online magazines, Internet forums, video sharing
communities, and weblogs. It is of paramount importance to assess the impact that social media has on adolescent development.
A growing body of research addresses social media’s effects upon adolescent friendships, identities, cognitive
growth, and health. Social media use has been demonstrated to have links with adolescent depression, anxiety, substance
abuse, and personality disorders. However, studies also suggest that social media may be a useful vehicle for public health
education and fostering creativity.
Method: We present a review of current literature up to 2012 dealing with social media’s impact upon healthy adolescent
development. We also describe various websites available for teenagers to help them deal with problems such as online
bullying, and resources for parents and professionals to help educate them about how to guide young people’s use of
Conclusions: Through a careful examination of the current evidence, parents, physicians, and social policymakers may determine
how to best equip adolescents to use social media as a tool rather than a handicap to becoming a fully functioning
Keywords: Social media, adolescent development, suicide, identity, cognitive development, screen time, intimacy, self esteem;
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