The American Psychological Association (APA) has issued recommendations for training teenagers before they engage with social media. The APA emphasizes that social media can have both positive and negative effects on young people, and it is essential to provide them with instruction on the safe and healthy use of these platforms. The recommendations include social media literacy and psychological development training before adolescents join social media, as well as ongoing instruction to minimize potential harm. The APA advises tailoring social media use to the child’s developmental stage and suggests adult monitoring for younger children. The guidelines also call for limitations on content that promotes self-harm, eating disorders, discrimination, hate, cyberbullying, or an excessive focus on beauty. They encourage regulating the timing of social media use to avoid interfering with sleep and physical activity.

The APA acknowledges that optimal social media use varies for each child and should consider their individual strengths, weaknesses, and context. They also suggest that rules for social media use should be tailored to each child based on their maturity level and home environment. The APA further acknowledges the need for more research on social media use among marginalized and differently-abled youth. The organization will continue to monitor research on current and future social media platforms. Dr. Damour highlights the importance of collaborative efforts between adults and teenagers to promote safer social media use. She emphasizes the need to educate teenagers about how social media platforms aim to manipulate their attention and urges adults to stay informed about the content and norms present on these platforms.