Teen Social Media Use and Belonging

By Vivett Dukes & Caroline Oppenheimer

#SafeSpaceConvos is a Twitter chat led and hosted by teacher, writer, and advocate Vivett Dukes on alternating Mondays at 8:30pm ET. In a forum that encourages honest dialogue and connection, we come together to learn, grow, and co-construct solutions to pressing problems for students.

On September 23, 2019, we engaged in a discussion of teen social media use, mental health, and social belonging. We were pleased to be joined by Dr. Caroline Oppenheimer, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on child and adolescent depression and suicide risk.

Chat Highlights

Q1: How have you observed the impact of screen time and digital media on young people, such as your students or children?


Q2: Research shows that the adolescent brain is especially sensitive to social and peer evaluative feedback. What are your thoughts or experiences with this?


Q3: How might a student’s sense of belonging at school influence how they use social media? Are some groups of teens more at risk for connecting online with peers in unhealthy ways?


Q4: Teen depression and suicide risk are on the rise. In what ways might social media be contributing?


Q5: How can we promote a feeling of belonging among students in today’s social media world? Can social media be leveraged in positive ways to increase social belonging?


WHAT WORKS: Throughout the chat, we asked participants to share strategies and lessons that have worked well in their classrooms. Here’s what folks shared:


Be bold. Be authentic. Join #SafeSpaceConvos

You’re invited to join the next chat on Monday, October 7, 2019 at 8:30pm ET. You can also read through these archived chats for insights and resources from your peers.