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Abstract

Today’s children have been described as “digital natives,” raised amid advances in technology that allow them to use media anytime and anywhere. Parents may feel pressure to restrict their children’s screen time as too much media usage frequently is associated with negative developmental outcomes such as depression, anxiety, and relational and physical aggression. However, studies suggest screen time restrictions alone could be inadequate as adolescents develop independence. Parent-child communication about media content helps children become “critical consumers of media” (Padilla-Walker, Coyne, & Collier, 2016) so they can develop skills to better evaluate content in the media. As adolescents develop these critical thinking skills, they become more capable of determining whether to discard or keep information being presented in media. Such skills can protect children from negative but compelling messages from media, increasing positive effects and decreasing long-term negative effects such as aggression, depression, and anxiety (Coyne, Padilla-Walker, Holmgren, & Stockdale, 2018b). Involved parents can use active media monitoring to assist their teen to have positive experiences with social media that can enhance adolescent development.

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