Year Published: 2020
Authors: Neha Lund (Wellesley College class of 2022), Emily Vargas (Wellesley College class of 2020), and Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D.
Source: Infographic by Wellesley Centers for Women


In a mixed method study, our Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab surveyed 229 school staff members and 419 parents from 4 school districts in the Northeast about adolescent social media use. Of these participants, they interviewed a subsample of 30 parents and 6 school staff to examine their perspectives on their roles in supporting healthy internet and social media use as well as the topics they most frequently discussed with teens. This infographic highlights the three most frequently discussed topics amongst parents and the three most frequently discussed topics amongst educators (including, teachers/asst teachers, counselors, librarians, administrators) when it comes to teen social media use.

The researchers analyzed parent and staff survey and interview responses and found that the top three topics discussed among the two groups differ. The analysis revealed that school staff frequently discussed with their students the impacts of screen addictions and to have empathy for others online while parents focused more on how the negative influences of screens can harm their child through “stranger danger”, cyberbullying, and being influenced by risky behaviors. Although the top three topics discussed were not the same for both parties, they both highly prioritized constant craving for devices and digital footprint.

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