FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2023
California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom Releases New Report on Youth Mental Health and Social Media
The First Partner released the report through her organization, the California Partners Project
Sacramento Calif. – First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and the California Partners Project (CPP) today unveiled a new report on the correlation between social media use and youth mental health. The report, Shared Experiences: How Social Media Affects the Well-Being and Empowerment of Girls and Young Women, synthesizes the latest data with researchers from UCLA, highlights youth voices, and includes recommendations to minimize the negative impact of social media and channel its use for potential good.
Shared Experiences offers four main recommendations for improving youth mental health online: better online safeguards, expanded media literacy programs, investment in diverse young women as tech leaders and creators, and inclusive research to gain more insight into the impact of social media on young people. To support families, CPP also released a resource with tips for caregivers on digital wellness and how to navigate the complexities of parenting in the age of social media.
“Our kids are growing up in a world surrounded by technology 24/7, and they are suffering,” said First Partner Siebel Newsom. “Social media can fuel sadness, anxiety, and shame – displacing sleep, movement, and real-life connection, and it is exacerbating an alarming youth mental health crisis. As First Partner and co-founder of the California Partners Project, it is my aim to ensure that media and technology are used as a force for good in the lives of young adults, if at all. This report provides recommendations to ensure social media is only a force for good and endeavors to support the chorus of young people and families calling for change in the tech industry.”
Shared Experiences explores teens’ complex relationships with social media by looking at the landscape of current research interspersed with genuine reflections from female teen focus participants. The report, available in English and Spanish, is the culmination of a two-year project from the California Partners Project: the We Hear You Campaign, which created a Youth Ambassador program to provide leadership training and space for young female leaders to connect around shared experiences on social media. The Youth Ambassadors also collaborated on ideas to support the design and regulation of technology to meet their needs.
“Shared Experiences is exactly the type of effort we need to transform our digital landscape at this pivotal moment in time — in so many ways, it’s been never harder to be a young person than it is today, and we owe it to them to reimagine technologies in ways that enable youth to thrive,” shared Dr. Devika Bhushan, pediatrician, former Acting Surgeon General of California, and CPP Board Member. “Shared Experiences crucially centers the lived experience of young people to co-design healthier technologies and digital environments that proactively work for them. As a pediatrician, public health leader, and parent, I absolutely love this for-us-by-us model. It uplifts and empowers the very people who stand to benefit most from an online world that honors their needs.”
Shared Experiences is a call-to-action for policymakers, tech industry leaders, and researchers and focuses on youth mental health and child well-being – a cornerstone of the First Partner’s California for ALL Kids initiative and CPP’s work.
Last September, the California State Legislature unanimously passed the California Age-Appropriate Design Code (AB 2273, Wicks), which was signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom. The law is a set of regulations aimed at protecting the privacy and online safety of children under 18. It requires online services to design their platforms with the well-being of children in mind and include specific features and settings tailored to the age of their users, ensuring a safer digital environment for youth.
To read the full report, visit www.calpartnersproject.org/sharedexperiences.
About the California Partners Project: Co-founded by California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Olivia Morgan, in partnership with the people of California, the California Partners Project is dedicated to championing gender equity across the state and promoting the mental, behavioral, and physical well-being of California’s children. For more information about CPP visit www.calpartnersproject.org/. Connect with the California Partners Project on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
“The twin pillars of our work – gender equity and child wellbeing – are intimately interconnected, and they both forefront teamwork and cooperation over individualism and going it alone.”
Jennifer Siebel Newsom
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