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Social Media Use among Adolescents: Benefits and Risks

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Background: Although use of social media is an important part of adolescents’ lives, the mental health impact of this activity is largely unknown to practitioners.

Methods: An extensive literature search was conducted regarding social media use among adolescents and the benefits and potential risks associated with that use. A PUBMED search was conducted using various terms including “social media and teens”, “social media and suicide”, “facebook and suicide”, “sexting”, “cyberbullying”, “facebook and teens”, “social media and self-injury”. Relevant articles were examined and used in this review. Also, reports on adolescent social media use from the Pew Internet and American Life Project were examined.

Results: This newer form of communication has many benefits to adolescents and plays an important role in their social lives. Despite the numerous benefits of these technologies, there are also several potential risks that can be detrimental to the mental health and well-being of adolescents.

Conclusions: It is critical that child psychiatrists and other mental health providers be informed of these potential risks so they can more effectively educate and treat their adolescent patients and their families.
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Keywords: Adolescents; cyberbullying; internet; pro-eating disorder websites; self-injury; sexting; social media; suicide

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2014

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  • Adolescent Psychiatry publishes reports of original research, critical reviews of topics relevant to practitioners, clinical observations with analysis and discussion, analysis of philosophical, ethical or social aspects of the fields of psychiatry and mental health, case reports with discussions, letters, and position papers. Adolescent Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed journal, and the official journal of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry, aims to provide mental health professionals who work with adolescents with current information relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in adolescence.
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