Social Media and Youth Mental Health

The emerging connection between social media, mental health, and adolescent development is complex. ACHI is committed to providing evidence-based resources to help youth, families, educators, and policymakers responsibly navigate this evolving space.

    Social media has undoubtedly become an integral part of our lives, and we all have a role to play in guiding our youth through today’s digital landscape. Nurturing engagement through social media can offer numerous benefits, including communication, connectivity, and access to learning.

    However, it is equally important to recognize the potential harm and influence that social media can have on young minds, such as engagement in risky behaviors, addictive tendencies, social isolation, interference with sleep or physical activity, and vulnerability to bullying or inappropriate social comparisons. It is now upon us to support our children, families, and communities as they navigate these new technologies.

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    ACHI discussions with Arkansas education and healthcare leaders highlight the impact social media use has on our youth and its contributions to what the U.S. surgeon general describes as a youth mental health crisis. We hope these resources can help educators, families, policymakers, and others stimulate healthy conversations about youth social media use, expand digital literacy, and help build the skills necessary to protect children from harm.

    Sleep and Youth Social Media

    One increasingly clear connection between social media and youth mental health is the impact of social media use on our children’s sleep. Dozens of studies on the effects of excessive social media use have found a consistent relationship with poor sleep quality, reduced sleep duration, difficulty sleeping, and depression among young people. Parents, guardians, and other caregivers should take steps to protect their children’s sleep. 

    related news releases

    ACHI Offers Recommendations for Parents, Caregivers To Safeguard Children From Social Media's Harms

    LITTLE ROCK ― (Aug. 9, 2023) As evidence mounts about social media’s potential harms to children, parents and caregivers should know there are steps they can take to minimize the risks, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement said Wednesday.

    “Social media can have both positive and negative impacts on young people,” ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson said. “Along with providing opportunities for education, entertainment and communication, social media can expose children to cyberbullying, promote bad habits, and fuel depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. Parents and caregivers need to know what the dangers are and what they can do to safeguard children from harm.”

    Additional Resources

    American Psychological Association Health Advisory on Social Media Use in Adolescence:

    United States Surgeon General Advisory on Social Media and Youth Mental Health:

    United States Surgeon General Advisory on Youth Mental Health:

    Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary & Secondary Education Social Media Awareness Campaign:

    American Academy of Pediatrics Center of Excellence on Social Media and Youth Mental Health:

    American Academy of Pediatrics Family Media Plan: