Across the country, summer camps, jobs, and internships have been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and teens and tweens are stuck at home. It’s likely that they’re spending a lot of time on social media — even more than usual.
Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., senior research scientist and director of the Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab, is getting a lot of questions from friends about how to help their children maintain a healthy relationship to social media during this time. Based on her own research and that of others, she wrote an op-ed for Baystate Parent magazine that points to several things to keep in mind — including what we know about screen time and its effects, how social media can affect the moods of both parents and kids, and how it can provide opportunities for teens and tweens to lean on their communities.
Charmaraman is digging deeper into this issue in her research. Currently, she is collecting data for her ongoing study of adolescents and social media funded by the National Institutes of Health. She’s looking into how social distancing has impacted parents and their children in positive and negative ways, and how teens’ and tweens’ physical and behavioral health has been affected. She’s also investigating the characteristics of adolescents, parents, and households that are more resilient and more vulnerable to the harmful effects of the pandemic.