Adolescent Health: Media Use

Janna Gewirtz O'Brien, Lauren McPherson, Katy Miller, Maria V Svetaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Digital media use has increased rapidly during the past two decades, and media use is now a major issue in adolescent development. Online connections and communities can help foster healthy identity development and provide needed peer support, particularly for adolescents from historically marginalized communities. Online harassment, or cyberbullying, is a common phenomenon. Media use can interfere with sleep hygiene and quality, and screen-based sedentary behaviors have been associated with decreased physical activity, decreased aerobic fitness, and increased adiposity among adolescents. The literature on media use and adolescent mental health still is evolving. Some research suggests a U-shaped association between these two factors, with high and low levels of internet use associated with depression. Social media use may amplify peer pressure to engage in sexual behavior, provide exposure to a greater network of individuals with sexual experience, and increase the risk of sexual behaviors. Counseling adolescent patients about safe and healthy media use is essential. Conversations with patients and their families about media use should begin before adolescence and continue through adolescence in the context of routine preventive care. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends creation and implementation of a Family Media Use Plan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalFP essentials
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


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