Recent Coverage

Annual Summer Workshop Teaches Middle School Girls About Digital Wellbeing

August 29, 2022

2022 summer digital wellbeing workshop presenters August 28, 2022

The five-day program allowed students to co-design an app to promote positive social media use and featured Wellesley College students and expert speakers on STEM.

Good Morning America: Parents sue TikTok after daughter dies attempting 'blackout' social media challenge

July 21, 2022

Dr. Linda Charmaraman shares insights from her research on youth social media use and wellbeing.

ABC News: LGBTQ+ community facing increased social media bias, author says

ABC News logoJune 29, 2022

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., shares research findings on LGBTQ teens' social media use.

Social Media Friends From Afterschool are Associated With Positive Youth Development in Digital Settings

June 17, 2022

middle school friends take a selfie

Positive youth development has been extensively documented in contexts such as the family, school, and afterschool programs. Emerging theory and research indicate that digital contexts such as social media may also be venues through which young people develop skills and attributes associated with the 5 Cs model (competence, confidence, connection, caring, and character) of positive youth development and thriving.

This study strives to understand if and how middle school youth’s in-person and online networks connect, and if they do connect, whether these connections relate to engaging in beliefs and behaviors associated with positive youth development.

The results suggest that in this sample, middle school youth included peers from afterschool programs in their online networks, and those who had friends from afterschool programs and school engaged in social media behaviors related to positive youth development at higher rates than those who were not connected to in-person networks. No association was found between the amount of time spent in afterschool contexts and any of the positive or problematic social media outcomes in this study.

The authors discuss implications for youth development professionals considering the influence of social media on youth, and next steps for research on afterschool activities and social media use.


This research is supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under award number R15HD094281. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

This paper was a collaboration between the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) and the Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab at the Wellesley Centers for Women.

New Study Will Investigate How Discrimination Affects the Mental Health of Asian American Adolescents

June 9, 2022

Sad Asian teen girl.

The long-term aim of the study is to develop evidence on how parents, peers, and social media can mitigate the negative health consequences of discrimination. 

Adolescent Media Project (AMP)

June 8, 2022

This study of the Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab aims to better understand the contexts and characteristics that influence how social media use connects with mental health and wellbeing for young adolescents. It capitalizes and expands upon an existing longitudinal study and, for a subset of young users (13- to 14-year-olds), utilizes data that assesses adolescents moment-by-moment.

The study’s primary aim is to determine the specific characteristics (e.g., demographics) and social contexts (e.g., COVID pandemic, family media rules) of adolescents’ online social interactions (e.g., relationship of the people interacting, content of interaction, total amount of use) that are associated with indicators of mental wellbeing.

The study’s significance lies in 1) furthering scientific understanding about standardized data collection methods and innovative technology to systematically document early adolescent digital interactions at a more timely, contextualized level, and 2) identifying contextual variables and individual characteristics that are associated with risky and resilient social media use. In the long term, findings will be applicable to interventions designed to encourage online behaviors linked to positive mental health outcomes and discourage others.

Study Examines Parents' Perspectives on the Benefits and Challenges of Adolescent Pet Companionship

May 23, 2022

middle school age girl uses laptop while holding pet dog May 23, 2022

Adolescents’ relationships with their pets can be very important, since adolescents are at a developmental stage when they’re relying less on their families and more on other relationships in their lives—both human and animal.

From Regulating Emotions to Less Lonely Screen Time: Parents’ Qualitative Perspectives of the Benefits and Challenges of Adolescent Pet Companionship

May 23, 2022

teen girl uses phone with dogAdolescents’ relationships with their pets can be very important, since adolescents are at a developmental stage when they’re relying less on their families and more on other relationships in their lives—both human and animal. Yet most research on pet companionship focuses on adults and young children. Moreover, lived experiences around having pets in households with adolescents are underexplored, particularly from parents’ perspectives.

The research team interviewed 31 parents/guardians in the Northeast U.S. to explore their perceptions of the benefits and challenges of having pets for their adolescent’s wellbeing as well as how adolescents affected their pet’s wellbeing.

The three main themes for perceived benefits of pets included social (e.g., reducing anxiety), physical (e.g., screen time companionship), and emotional (e.g., regulation of difficult emotions such as anger and loneliness). Challenges to adolescent wellbeing included such social topics as family tension around unevenly shared responsibilities, physical themes such as problematic animal behaviors, and emotional themes related to grieving the passing of pets.

Dr. Charmaraman and her coauthors offer a developmental systems approach to understanding pets within adolescent families, noting future directions for developing family interventions to improve pet-adolescent interactions given the demands of child and pet upbringing during adolescence.


Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers R03HD101060-02 and R15HD094281-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Innovating Novel Online Social Spaces with Diverse Middle School Girls: Ideation and Collaboration in a Synchronous Virtual Design Workshop

May 18, 2022

middle school girl doing remote lesson with laptop

The authors of this study led a synchronous virtual workshop centered on social media innovation, collaboration, and computational design for 17 ethnically diverse, geographically dispersed middle school girls (ages 11-14). In this paper, they present the culminating design ideas of novel online social spaces, focused on positive experiences for adolescent girls and produced in small groups, as well as a thematic analysis of the idea generation and collaboration processes.

The authors reflect on the strengths of utilizing social media as a domain for computing exploration with diverse adolescent girls, the role of facilitators in a synchronous virtual design workshop, and the technical infrastructure that can enable active participation and use of participatory design principles in educational workshops with this population.


This study was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: R15HD094281-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Business Insider India: How does social media affect teenagers? Understanding the mental health impact — and why it's not all bad

Teen girl of African descent uses smartphoneMay 16, 2022

Research on body image from Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., is cited in an article on teen wellbeing.

Now Recruiting Middle School Girls for 2022 Virtual Summer Workshop on Digital Wellbeing

April 21, 2022

Girls in STEM illustration April 21, 2022

Researchers are looking for middle school girls to participate in a free workshop on designing healthier social media experiences.

New Youth Advisory Board Guides Digital Wellbeing Workshops

April 1, 2022

Youth Advisory Board April 1, 2022

The Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab recently created a Youth Advisory Board to inform the development of its virtual digital wellbeing workshops.

Examining Early Adolescent Positive and Negative Social Technology Behaviors and Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 16, 2022

teen with phoneThere is a popular assumption that teens’ wellbeing is intricately linked to their social media use. The thinking goes that if they’re spending a lot of time online, and they’re unhappy, it must be because they’re spending a lot of time online.

But a new study from Dr. Charmaraman and her colleagues found that although teens were using social technologies more during COVID-19 lockdowns, and experiencing increases in social anxiety, loneliness, and depression, there was no evidence that one caused the other.

The aims of this longitudinal survey study of 586 middle school students in the Northeast U.S. were to examine (a) changes in positive and negative social technology behaviors prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (fall 2019) compared to during the pandemic (fall 2020), and (b) whether changes in social technology behaviors were associated with wellbeing outcomes.

Dr. Charmaraman and her co-authors found that during this time period, there were significant increases in frequency of checking social media, social technology use before bedtime, problematic internet use, and positive social media use, such as providing support to others and online civic engagement. Students also experienced significant increases in social anxiety, loneliness, and depressive symptoms (and on the bright side, increased strategies of coping when stressed).

The researchers did not find any strong evidence, however, that the changes in wellbeing that teens experienced were meaningfully related to their social technology use. Interestingly, although there were significant increases in time spent on social media, there were no increases in negative online interactions such as harassment—which may provide some relief to parents and educators that this increased time did not necessarily expose youth to more harmful social interactions.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under award number R15HD094281-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Verywell Health: Social Media Didn’t Cause Teens’ Pandemic Stress

March 14, 2022

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., discusses her research on teens' social media use during the pandemic.

Scary Mommy: TikTok For Young Kids? No Thanks

Graphic depicting social mediaJanuary 31, 2022

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., shares her expertise on the minimum age for joining social media.

Washington Post: Instagram is touting safety features for teens. Mental health advocates aren’t buying it.

A girl looks sad and tired while using her phoneDecember 7, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, PhD., contributes an expert opinion on Instagram's impact on teens.

Scary Mommy: How Young Is Too Young For Social Media?

young teen boy using smartphoneNovember 14, 2021

Research from our Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab explores the impacts of using social media at a young age. 

Diverse Data Samples Drive Social Change

November 10, 2021

Huiying, Linda, and BudnampetThrough the lens of her work on youth, media, and wellbeing, Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., explains how diverse data samples can help to better support underserved populations.

Speaking of Psychology: How social media affects teens’ mental health and well-being, with Linda Charmaraman, PhD

A tired girl using her phone under the blanketNovember 10, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., shares her expertise on the mental health benefits and drawbacks of social media.

Verywell Mind: TikTok May Be to Blame for Rising Cases of Tic Like Behaviors in Teen Girls

Illustration of a brain in the side profile with cogs and wheelsNovember 6, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., discusses a new social media trend. 

Fast Company: How young is too young for social media? Behavioral scientists are closer to an answer

A young girl lying down on a sofa with her dog while using her phoneOctober 29, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., shares findings from her research on social media use in younger children.

Joining Social Media Before Age 11 Is Associated With Problematic Digital Behaviors

October 27, 2021

tween girl of asian descent uses a tablet October 27, 2021

A new study finds that limiting access lessens some negative effects of social media use among younger users.

Young Sexual Minority Adolescent Experiences of Self-expression and Isolation on Social Media: Cross-sectional Survey Study

October 6, 2021

Pride FlagsThis article examines how sexual minority middle schoolers use social media, who they are connected to and for what purposes, and the associations between these behaviors and mental wellbeing, compared to their heterosexual peers.

Dr. Charmaraman, Hodes, and Richer surveyed 1,033 early adolescents aged 10-16 from four middle schools in the Northeast U.S., comparing the responses of sexual minorities (24.3% of the sample with known sexual orientation) to their heterosexual peers. 

The researchers found that sexual minorities reported having smaller networks on their favorite social media site, and less often responded positively when friends shared good news or tried to make friends feel better when they shared bad news. However, unlike heterosexual youth, sexual minorities more often reported joining a group or online community to make themselves feel less alone. They had higher averages of loneliness and social isolation than heterosexual students, and were also twice as likely to have tried to harm themselves in the past and more likely to have symptoms of depression. About 39.1% of sexual minorities had no one to talk to about their sexual orientation. They were 1.5 times more likely to have joined a social media site their parents would disapprove of and they were more likely to report seeing online videos related to self-harm.

Given previous reports of supportive and safe online spaces for sexual minority youth, these findings demonstrate that these youth prefer to maintain small, close-knit online communities (apart from their families) to express themselves, particularly when reaching out to online communities to reduce loneliness.

Findings from this study have been featured in ABC News, The Conversation, Academic Minute, Actively Learn, Let's Go There podcast, and the Women Change Worlds blog.


This study was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: R15HD094281-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Support was also provided by the Wellesley Centers for Women Class of 1967 Internship Program and by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, which provided pilot seed funds before the National Institutes of Health award.

 

Verywell Mind: Facebook Knew Instagram Was Harmful to Mental Health of Teen Girls, Said Nothing

A teenage girl using her phone while lying on a sofaOctober 6, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., shares her expertise on leaked research studies about Instagram’s impact on teens.

Associations of Early Social Media Initiation on Digital Behaviors and the Moderating Role of Limiting Use

October 1, 2021

Young Girl Using SmartphoneLittle is known about the effects of social media initiation on digital behaviors from middle childhood to early adolescence, a critical developmental period marked by peer influence and initial access to mobile devices.

In this study, 773 participants from middle schools in the Northeast U.S. completed a cross-sectional survey about social media initiation, digital behaviors, and parental restrictions on digital use. The results demonstrated that overall, early adolescents more frequently engaged in positive digital behaviors compared to negative ones. The results also showed that using Instagram or Snapchat before age 11 was significantly related to more problematic digital behaviors. These problematic behaviors included having online friends or joining social media sites parents would disapprove of, more problematic digital technology behaviors, more unsympathetic online behaviors, and greater likelihood of online harassment and sexual harassment victimization.

Additionally, the youngest social media initiators were more likely to engage in supportive online behaviors. And limiting access to social media lessened some of the negative effects of early social media use.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under award number 1R15HD094281-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Related pilot funding was provided by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development.

Verywell Family: New Study Finds Kids Who Spend More Time on Screens Have More Close Friends

Teen boy using a smartphoneSeptember 29, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., shares her findings on the link between youth screen time and their social development.

Channel Q: The Safe Spaces On Social Media for LGBTQ+ Youth

Teens holding LGBT and trans pride flagsSeptember 28, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., discusses social media use among LGBTQ youth on the Channel Q radio show, Let's Go There.

The Conversation: Social media gives support to LGBTQ youth when in-person communities are lacking

Illustration of teens using smartphonesSeptember 28, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., shares findings from a new journal article on LGBTQ youth social media use.

The New York Times: Worried About Your Teen on Social Media? Here’s How to Help.

Black teen girl uses smartphone while boredSeptember 21, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., shares findings on middle school students' social media use.

Middle Schoolers Learn About STEM and Digital Wellbeing During Annual Summer Workshop

September 1, 2021

Wellesley student Connie Gu shares photos from her STEM journey September 1, 2021

Middle school students learned about STEM concepts and healthy social media use during a workshop hosted by the Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab.

Psychosocial Correlates of Posttraumatic Growth Among U.S. Young Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic

July 15, 2021

psychiatry researchThe purpose of this study was to examine the association between post-traumatic growth (PTG) among young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic and their psychosocial characteristics—specifically, their distress tolerance, resilience, family connectedness, depressive, anxiety and PTSD symptoms, and worry related to COVID-19. It was published in a special issue of Psychiatry Research about mental health and COVID-19.

The study utilized data from 805 U.S. young adults (18-30 years old) who completed online surveys during the COVID-19 pandemic in two waves (April-August 2020 and September 2020-March 2021).

Overall, young adults reported low PTG scores. PTSD symptoms and worry related to COVID-19 significantly predicted higher levels of PTG, while depressive symptoms predicted lower levels of PTG. Resilience and family connectedness significantly predicted higher levels of PTG, and distress tolerance significantly predicted lower levels of PTG after accounting for sociodemographic characteristics and negative influential factors.

Compared to white participants, Asian participants were less likely to report PTG. In general, young adults have not perceived personal growth from the pandemic; however, young adults with certain psychosocial factors appear to be predisposed to such PTG.

This study highlights the importance of exploring and elucidating potential positive trajectories following the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

ScreenStrong Families: How YouTube Impacts Middle School Development

June 18, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., shares findings from her research on middle schoolers' social media use.

Disconnecting and Reconnecting: A Photovoice Workshop on Healthy Social Media Use

June 14, 2021

thumbs up kidEarly adolescents often hear messages like “Don’t spend too much time on your phone!” Yet little is known about how middle school youth regulate their smartphone usage. To help fill that gap, researchers in the Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab held a week-long summer workshop to explore early adolescents’ perspectives on positive and healthy social media usage.

They used a community-based participatory action research model to design their social media curriculum around one specific middle school community, beginning by gathering perspectives from students, parents, and staff. These perspectives shaped their workshop curriculum, which they piloted in summer 2019 with 13 students from the middle school. The workshop activities engaged participants in reflecting on their social media habits, using a method called photovoice to empower them to share the world through their lenses. In the process, they developed interest in becoming producers as well as critical consumers of social media.

The researchers’ long-term goal is to incorporate these participants’ voices into a user-centered design process to build an app, website, or workshop to support healthy social media use. Their photovoice project provides an example of how to engage in a research-community collaboration to learn which social media and wellbeing issues are most salient in a school community. It is also a model to show afterschool or summer program providers how to conduct their own photovoice workshop.

 

New Research on the Health and Wellbeing of LGBTQ+ Teens

June 9, 2021

A biracial couple of teen girls smile while hugging outside.Several new studies from Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., and Jennifer M. Grossman, Ph.D., help us understand more about the experiences of LGBTQ+ teens.

Prototyping for Social Wellbeing with Early Social Media Users: Belonging, Experimentation, and Self-Care

May 27, 2021

logo chi conferenceMany 10-14 year olds are at the early stages of using social media, and habits they develop on popular platforms can have lasting effects on their socioemotional wellbeing. 

Dr. Charmaraman and Dr. Delcourt led a remote innovation workshop with 23 middle schoolers on digital wellbeing, identity exploration, and computational concepts related to social computing. This article describes the structure of the workshop, themes that emerged from discussions, and the process participants used to design their own social network website called Social Sketch.

The workshop was a unique opportunity for participants to reflect on their social media habits, discuss them with peers, and imagine themselves as technology innovators. The themes that emerged related to social wellbeing online included a) sense of belonging to communities of interest, friends, and family, b) self-care and social support strategies involving managing risks, control, and empathy, and c) experimentation while building self-confidence and bravely exploring audience reactions. 

After the workshop, girls’ self-esteem and agency increased. They reported increases in the importance of sharing about their abilities, achievements, and future career plans online and feeling of belonging in online communities. They also reported an increase in their belief that they are good at computing and that learning about technology will give them many career choices. Overall, participants were less likely to think that computing jobs were boring. 

Findings from this paper are summarized in a blog post and video abstract

This study was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: R15HD094281-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Exploring Adolescent Social Media Use

May 21, 2021

Tulani Reeves-Miller, Ramona Smucker, Gillian Sjoblum, Rachel Hodes, Teresa Xiao

May 20, 2021

Students from the Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab share findings from ongoing studies during a Wellesley College Ruhlman Conference presentation.

Students Share Insights from 2020-21 Internships

May 20, 2021

Jenn Yu, Hayley Moniz, Rachel Hodes, Eshika Kaul, Charnel Jones

May 20, 2021

Students in the 2020-21 Class of 1967 Internship Program at WCW discuss what they learned during their internships.

Wellesley News: Senior Snapshot: Rachel Hodes Finds Joy in an Unusual Year

A picture of then-Wellesley senior Rachel Hodes on campus.May 17, 2021

Wellesley College student Rachel Hodes worked with Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., during the 2020-21 academic year.

MEDIUM: Prototyping for Social Wellbeing with Early Social Media Users

This photo shows a group of girls looking at mobile phone and smiling.May 10, 2021

Professor Catherine Delcourt, who partners with Dr. Linda Charmaraman in our Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab, discusses findings from their digital wellbeing workshops for middle school students. 

Prototyping for Social Wellbeing with Early Social Media Users: Video Abstract

May 7, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Catherine Delcourt

May 7, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., and Catherine Grevet Delcourt, Ph.D., share findings from a workshop on digital wellbeing, identity exploration, and computational concepts related to social computing.

Lifewire: Why Audio Is the Next Big Thing in Social Media

microphoneApril 26, 2021

Senior Research Scientist Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., discusses the rise of private audio chats and interactive social media.

Now Recruiting Middle School Girls for 2021 Virtual Summer Workshop on STEM/Digital Wellbeing

April 26, 2021

Middle school girl uses laptop April 26, 2021

We are looking for middle school girls to participate in a free virtual summer learning program that begins on July 19, 2021.

Companion Animal Relationships and Adolescent Loneliness during COVID-19

April 5, 2021

teen boy with dog and phoneThe COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented historical event with the potential to significantly impact adolescent loneliness. This study aimed to explore the role of companion animals and attachment to pets in the context of the pandemic. 

The researchers used longitudinal quantitative survey data collected prior to and during the pandemic to assess the role of pets in predicting adolescent loneliness. They found that pet ownership was not a significant predictor of loneliness before the pandemic, but it did predict higher levels of loneliness during COVID-19 as well as higher increases in loneliness from before to during the pandemic. 

Dog owners in the study showed lower levels of loneliness prior to the pandemic, but not during it, and dog owners were significantly more attached to their pets than owners of other types of pets. Adolescents with pets reported spending more time with their pets during the pandemic, and frequently reported pet interactions as a strategy for coping with stress. 

Overall, the results from this study indicate complexity in the relationship between pet ownership, attachment, loneliness, and coping with stress. These results suggest a need for additional research further assessing how features of the relationship—such as species and relationship quality—might contribute to adolescent mental health outcomes. 

This study was done by researchers with the Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab at WCW and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. The study was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development under award numbers R03HD101060 and R15HD094281-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Social Media Related Body Dissatisfaction: Video Abstract

March 25, 2021

Emmy Howe, M.Ed., Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., Soo Hong, Ed.D., and Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

March 25, 2021

This study found that young adolescents who reported greater negative attitudes toward their body image checked their social media more frequently.

Wellesley Weston Magazine: Promoting Healthy Social Media Use

Three little girls spending time together and sharing a smartphone while outdoors.March 8, 2021

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., discusses the meaning of healthy social media usage in this feature in Wellesley Weston Magazine.

New Research Looks at How Social Media Affects Adolescents' Body Image

February 24, 2021

Teen girl uses phone while putting on makeup February 24, 2021

A recently published journal article explores social media’s role in influencing adolescents' attitudes toward body image.

Early Adolescent Social Media-Related Body Dissatisfaction: Associations with Depressive Symptoms, Social Anxiety, Peers, and Celebrities

February 24, 2021

journal development behavioral pediatricsIt is critical to examine the powerful socializing effects of networked media on early adolescents, who are at an age when social media use, body self-consciousness, and social comparisons are at their peak.

In this study, the researchers used two subsamples from a larger survey sample of 700 middle school students in the Northeast U.S. They conducted a cross-sectional pilot survey using brief, descriptive body dissatisfaction measures directly related to social media use.

Within this subsample, 19% of participants reported dissatisfaction with their bodies. Their most common concerns around body image included not being thin enough or attractive enough, and feeling dissatisfied with their body shape, hair, and face. 

Those reporting social media-related body dissatisfaction checked their social media more frequently. When compared with those who did not feel negatively about their body image because of social media, those who did had higher rates of depressive symptoms, had online social anxiety, had found it harder to make new friends, and were more socially isolated. Those who followed celebrities checked social media more frequently and were more likely to have depressive symptoms and online social anxiety.

The researchers concluded that there may be negative socioemotional health consequences for early adolescent social media users who are exposed to particular sources of social media content, such as photographs of celebrities.

Some of these research findings are also represented in an infographic.

This research was funded by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development. Additional support provided by NIH (K23 MH 107714-01 A1) and the Mary Ann Tynan Faculty Fellowship, as well as the Class of 1967 Internship Program at the Wellesley Centers for Women.

Accents: Promoting Healthy Social Media Use

Student on a phone in bedFebruary 19, 2021

WCW Senior Research Scientist Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., is featured in Accents discussing teens and technology during COVID-19.

Media And Identity Study Findings

February 10, 2021

This survey of adolescents and young adults aged 12 to 25 explored social media use, network characteristics, and mental health. The study, which included participants from a wide array of racial, geographical, and gender backgrounds, found that those who shared similar identities behaved online in similar ways. 

Participants who had written a blog were significantly more likely to be sad or unhappy, and Asian Americans were more likely to blog than their peers. Lower status, male, and adolescent participants reported significantly more rude or mean comments posted online about them. Female and emerging adults aged 18 to 25 were more likely to not be able to stop checking their Facebook or email.

This survey was part of the Media & Identity Study led by Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., director of the Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab.





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