Watch Teaching Assistant Professor Annie Margaret talk about social media's role in the self esteem of teenagers in this webinar by Forward Together, an organization that develops resources for parent-to-youth and youth-to-youth communication and relationship building.
Margaret investigates the efficacy of specific psychotechnologies and contemplative practices as tools to counteract the negative impact of social media on our mental health and well-being. She is especially interested in social media’s effect on young women. Research suggests that this demographic has various negative mental health outcomes related to life satisfaction, happiness and anxiety. In a 2019 JAMA article, researchers stated that the surge in social media use may be at least in part to blame for the rise in suicide rates in adolescent females, which rose 151 percent from 2009 to 2019, in stark contrast to fairly consistent rates previously (1999-2009).
To address some of the underlying issues behind these disturbing trends, Margaret created a Digital Wellness Summer Program for middle-school girls that provide strategies adolescents can use to minimize the negative psychological impacts of social media.