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2022 Abstracts

Social Media Use and Academic Engagement in Adolescence: Implications for Social Policy

Presenter: Michael Bokinskie
Authors: Michael Bokinskie, Reetta Saeaeski, Youssef Harraq, Alyssa English, Michael Guynn, Dannelle Larsen-Rife
Faculty Advisor: Dannelle Larsen-Rife
Institution: Dixie State University

Social media use among adolescents has increased substantially over the last decade due to the availability of smartphones and other mobile devices. Social media is an advanced form of technology that bridges the communication gap in an increasingly virtual world. Students have recently experienced a significant change from the traditional classroom style of education to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The shift has caused some students to experience feelings of social isolation, anxiety, and depression. Research suggests the upward trend in social media use will likely continue. The recent shift to virtual education highlights the paucity of research on the effects of social media on academic performance and school connectedness among adolescents. Social media can provide a safe space for adolescents to develop and practice social skills, express individuality and creativity, strengthen current friendships, and potentially form new ones. However, excessive social media use is associated with anxiety and depression which can negatively impact academic performance and school connectedness. Potential risks should be understood for safe and effective social media use. The present paper examines the associations between social media use, academic performance, and school connectedness in adolescence. Mental health experts, educators, parents, and adolescents should be informed of the risks and benefits of social media. Guidance for social media policy is proposedbased on a review of the literature.