How does technology impact teenagers’ brains? We still don’t have enough research to know.

As we will continue to struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic disease and social distancing recommendations is still there somewhere, millions of our children and adolescents not attending school who, in the fall—which means that they will often be trapped in their homes and use the Internet as a primary means of human connection. The situation has been the re-emergence of a long-term, it is difficult to answer the question: technology is going to ruin my teen’s brain?

Over the years, some people blame the increasing growth rate of adolescents suffering from mental health problems in the US in a sharp increase in how much they participate in digital equipment compared to the previous generations—but without much hard evidence to support these claims.

This is true, we see unprecedented levels of adolescents using digital devices 95%of American teenagers have access to a smartphone, and 45%say they are online”almost constantly,”according to the 2018 Pew Research Center poll. And in the same period of time, the Internet and mobile phone use has increased a generation of young people, the suicide rate in the United States is also steadily increasing(in all ages overall), with a disproportionate increase in the speed of the tween, girls 10-14 years old.

But the rise of teen use of social media at the same time, depression rates have increased representation of the correlation, Not Causal relationship. Meaning, there is no evidence that teen use of social media is the reason Why We see this increase in depression, rather than any number of other confounding factors—like their family life, economic condition, or anything else. You want to know if this is the case, we need more comprehensive study, the separation of these other factors.

Considering how important the stakes, the answer to this question is important and urgent.

A new report from nonprofit Common Sense Media, a national advocacy group focused on digital access and the safety of the child and family, reflects the state of emergency dialogue. The report, written by University of California, Irvine Child Psychology Professor Candice Odgers and Common Sense Director of Research Michael Robb, trying to review the existing research about the impact of technology use on adolescents, concluded that the overall risks and benefits, and make recommendations for parents, educators and the public. But one of the biggest conclusions from the common sense of the report, the existing research does not tell us enough, we need more sophisticated scientific evidence, to know anything conclusive about the effect of social media on adolescent mental health.

At the same time, it’s worth understanding what kind of concerns around the impact of social media on adolescent mental health is—what to consider when it comes to figuring out how to help adolescents to have a balanced relationship with technology, especially in the life, by an epidemic.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the first partner of the Governor of California Gavin Newsom, he contributed to a report wrote that she understood that digital devices like tablets and laptops are necessary tools for acquiring an education during the Covid-19 schools closed. But she said she is also worried about the impact of these devices on children and adolescents mental health.

“(A)a mother, I can’t ignore the reality, in my home. Distance learning for my four children this spring to open up the floodgates for the media and its adverse effects. What Start use the questions for homework to become Internet search for caused by age-inappropriate information and incorrect information,”wrote Siebel Newsom. “All of a sudden my eldest son is sneaking out of their room, or hiding the device in their beds at night.”

The two Sibel Newsom and other contributions to the report like former Democratic presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, hope to see technology and media companies to accept more responsibility for their impact on children, even if we haven’t research shows that in the end what kind of impact. Yang special appeal to the government substantial money more research and step, if necessary, to encourage science and technology companies, education of children, rather than entertain them, collect the ad dollars. (Child of the digital advertising market is expected to value US $ 1.7 billion by 2021, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.)

“Now, the interest of the parents directly with the interests of technology companies,”wrote Yang. “They are the currency of our attention and profit of our time. As they say, the addictive nature of cell phones is a feature, not a bug. Our parents all have weapons, and at a total loss.”

Two Newson Yang’s comments on the painting of the larger concerns across the United States public about what their children do in their timeline, and how this will affect their development.

Therefore, although there is no shortage of concern about how the teen more time to spend on their phones, what the research actually say?

Unfortunately, there is not enough for us to draw any quantitative, evidence-based conclusions-this is why we should start doing research in earnest now. The report of a meta-analysis of the latest research on social media and depression reveals a mix of”small positive, negative, mostly neutral”link between teen use of technology, such as social media and their mental health.

The report’s authors looked at two large-scale review of the existing research on the topic published earlier this year found findings associated with adolescent mental health and the use of digital technology”inconsistent”, even when an Association exists, it accounted for less than 1%of the variation.

This failure to find a stronger link between adolescent depression and the use of technology”is not surprising,”Odgers et al wrote,”Given that mental health disorders emerge a complex set of social, genetic and experience factors, which have a varying impact across the development and circumstances.” However, the”small effects may be meaningful,”the report noted,”however, the existing evidence, we are unable to separate cause from effect social media research with adolescents.”

If researchers want to actually separate causes from effects, we need to study, ask more specific questions, the support of hard data, because I’m The Voice of colleagues Brian Resnick has been previously explained. Self-report surveys of adolescent well-being can be biased—so instead, another option would be for scientists to use brain scans show neurological development over time to track the actual role of social media in children’s well-being.

Although there is at least one large-scale study of this is ongoing, this is determined by the National Institute of health, it will be years before we see its results. Until then, the researchers asked more granular data of companies, such as Apple and Google to help them understand exactly How to These kids are using their device-that is, they start in Fortnite, or watching educational YouTube videos? To date, technology companies, such as Apple largely does not give researchers the choice to see people’s screen when the data, these data show how much they use the different apps in their phone, for example, even with their consent.

Considering all these, the present report calls on the government and other groups to Finance more research on this important topic.

At the same time, the jury is still on exactly how social media affects teenagers, report and provide some child psychologists support the recommendations of the adolescent technology use during this period.

An important: it is not How much Teens use the app matters—but How to They use these applications. In essence, it is the quality rather than the quantity. Example the quality of the use, including teen use of multiplayer video games to socialize with their peers, build stronger friendships, the report argues. Another example of positive the use of new technology is when first year College students use their smartphones to keep in close contact with their parents. One study cited indicates that these students better bounce back from external pressures, compared to their peers who stay in touch with their families less often.

The report emphasizes that, although many families have developed rules about how their children use technology, the battle parents have with their children more than it is actually making things worse. In fact,”the conflict of the screen is likely to be more harmful to teen mental health than the screen time itself,”in the ordinary sense of the report States.

Although there’s a lot we still don’t know about technology and its impact adolescent mental health, this is an important question, which is will only become more severe in pandemic. This is why we need better studies before jumping to any conclusions.

You can read the report in full here.

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