The toll of social media and smartphones on teen mental health : Short Wave This week, the American Psychological Association issued its first-of-kind guidelines for parents to increase protection for children online. It comes at a time of rising rates of depression and anxiety among teens.

This episode, NPR science correspondent Michaeleen Doucleff looks into the data on how that seismic change has shifted the mental health of teenagers. In her reporting, she found that the seismic shift of smartphones and social media has re-defined how teens socialize, communicate and even sleep.

We need to talk about teens, social media and mental health

We need to talk about teens, social media and mental health

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In 2009, only about half of teens said they used social media every day. By 2022, 95% of teens said they used some social media — and about a third say they use it constantly, a poll from Pew Research Center found. Owen Franken/Getty Images hide caption

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Owen Franken/Getty Images

In 2009, only about half of teens said they used social media every day. By 2022, 95% of teens said they used some social media — and about a third say they use it constantly, a poll from Pew Research Center found.

Owen Franken/Getty Images

This week, the American Psychological Association issued its first-of-kind guidelines for parents to increase protection for teens online. It comes at a time of rising rates of depression and anxiety among teens.

This episode, NPR science correspondent Michaeleen Doucleff looks into the data on how that change has impacted the mental health of teenagers. In her reporting, she found that the seismic shift of smartphones and social media has re-defined how teens socialize, communicate and even sleep.

In 2009, about half of teens said they were using social media daily, reported psychologist Jean Twenge. And last year, 95% of teens said they used some social media, and about a third said they use it constantly.

We want to hear the science questions that keep you up at night. Send us an email at shortwave@npr.org.

Listen to Short Wave on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

This episode was produced by Jane Greenhalgh with Liz Metzger. It was edited by Jane Greenhalgh and our managing producer, Rebecca Ramirez. Michaeleen Doucleff checked the facts. Our audio engineers were Neisha Heinis and Hans Copeland.