The Pandemic, Technology, and the Mental Well-Being of Children Cybertraps 118

  • Increased Use of Technology
  •   A Global Issue
  •   Explosion in the Use of Technology for Remote Learning
  •   General Increase in Screen Time
  •   Algorithmic Rabbit Holes
  • Scope of the Problem
  •   90% of Kids Are Regular Social Media Users
  • Impact of Pandemic on Mental Well-Being of Children in General — Almost Certainly Bad
  •   Some Disagreement as to Role of Technology and Social Media
  •   Particular Challenges for Girls
  •   Rise in Loneliness and Suicide Attempts
  • Issues and Concerns
  •   Access to Inappropriate Materials on Poorly Set-Up School Devices (or Personal Devices)
  • Impact on Student Privacy
  •   What Are the Search Terms Used by the School to Flag Messages or Searches?
  •   Emerging Technologies: Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence
  • Responses
  •   Reasonable Limits on Screen Time for Children
  •   Possible legislation by U.S. Congress and EU to force tech companies to do a better job protecting children
  •   Increased surveillance of children by schools?
  •   Better training of school employees to recognize symptoms and warning signs
  •   More effective education regarding mental health; destigmatize
  •   Encourage students to seek help for themselves or their classmates
  •   Mental health days?
  • Resources
  • General
  •   "Even before the pandemic, mental health disorders in adolescents, such as depression and anxiety, were prevalent,” said Mott Poll co-director and Mott pediatrician Gary L. Freed, M.D., M.P.H."

  •   "The pandemic caused significant stress and social disruption for kids that likely exacerbated these problems, as we’re seeing a growing number of young people face mental health concerns. This places a heavier burden on parents, health providers and other trusted adults in their lives to be aware of potential warning signs."


  • Use of Technology
  •   "Among teens, heavy users of social media (five-plus hours a day) are twice as likely to be depressed as non-users. Facebook's own research found that using Instagram led to body image issues for many teen girls. Screen time in general (TV, gaming, texting) is also linked to depression, but not as strongly."
  •   "A new study did not find evidence of a direct link between teens’ increased use of social technology during the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to their well-being."
  •   "Although the teens showed more problematic social technology behaviors overall, these behaviors were not necessarily linked to increased social anxiety, loneliness, or depression."
  •   "Social technology can have a negative impact on any person’s well-being, but it can also be beneficial. The outcome depends on many factors and can’t be predicted just by looking at how often a person uses social media."

  •   "Simulation sickness"
  •   Feeling of unreality
  • Non-Tech Solutions

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