June 26, 2023

Limiting Social Media Use in Youths Brings Challenges, Benefits

Dr. Jane Harness is quoted in this article discussing how youths are aware of the negative effects of social media and are actively implementing strategies to manage their usage, especially in terms of safety and time management.

Read the full WebMD article here.


'Youth Are Aware'

Self-monitoring works, agreed Jane Harness, DO, an adjunct clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, because “having that insight is often the first step.”

In a study she conducted, Harness aimed to gather youths' insights about how their social media use affected them. With her colleagues, she asked more than 1,100 youths, ages 14 to 24, what advice they would give to those new to social media, if they ever felt they needed to change social media habits, and if they have deleted or considered deleting social media accounts.

From the 871 responses, Harness found that youths were especially concerned about safety online, that most had thought about deleting a social media app and some had, and that youths were more likely to say they wanted to change the amount of time spent on social media, compared to the content they view. 

“Users responded with great advice for each other,” she said. “Safety was brought up,” with users reminding others to keep accounts private and to be aware of location tracking links and content that seems to promote eating disorders, suicide, and other harms. 

In the study report, Harness concluded: “Youth are aware of ways in which social media could be negatively impacting them and they have employed methods to modulate their use because of this awareness.”