The APA Zips Along Like … Like a Turtle, a Really Snappy Turtle Too

May 10, 2023

I read “American Psychology Group Issues Recommendations for Kids’ Social Media Use”. The article reports that social media is possibly, just maybe, perhaps, sort of an issue for some, a few, a handful, a teenie tiny percentage of young people. I am not sure when “social media” began. Maybe it was something called Six Degrees or Live Journal. I definitely recall the wonky weirdness of flashing MySpace pages. I do know about Orkut which if one cares to check was a big hit among a certain segment of Brazilians. The exact year is irrelevant; social media has been kicking around for about a quarter century.

Now, I learn:

The report doesn’t denounce social media, instead asserting that online social networks are “not inherently beneficial or harmful to young people,” but should be used thoughtfully. The health advisory also does not address specific social platforms, instead tackling a broad set of concerns around kids’ online lives with commonsense advice and insights compiled from broader research.

What are the data about teen suicides? What about teen depression? What about falling test scores? What about trend oddities among impressionable young people? Those data are available and easy to spot. In June 2023, another Federal agency will provide information about yet another clever way to exploit young people on social media.

Now the APA is taking a stand? Well, not really a stand, more of a general statement about what I think is one of the most destructive online application spaces available to young and old today.

How about this statement?

The APA recommends a reasonable, age-appropriate degree of “adult monitoring” through parental controls at the device and app level and urges parents to model their own healthy relationships with social media.

How many young people grow up with one parent and minimal adult monitoring? Yeah, how many? Do parents or a parent know what to monitor? Does a parent know about social media apps? Does a parent know the names of social media apps?

Impressive, APA. Now I remember why I thought Psych 101 was a total, absolute, waste of my time when I was a 17 year old fresh person at a third rate college for losers like me. My classmates — also losers — struggle to suppress laughter during the professor’s lectures. Now I am giggling at this APA position.

Sorry. Your paper and recommendations are late. You get an F.

Stephen E Arnold, May 10, 2023


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