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Newsweek: There Is One Major Element Missing From the Debate on Kids and Social Media | Opinion

By Desmond Upton Patton

Brian and Randi Schwartz University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania

There’s been a lot of debate recently about how smartphones affect young people’s mental health. But this important conversation rarely mentions how our devices and social media are fueling another epidemic: gun violence.

I’ve spent more than a decade studying how young people’s activities on social media can spill over into physical violence offline. Gun violence is arguably the No. 1 cause of death for American children and teenagers. So why isn’t it part of our conversations about how smartphones and technology impact young people?

We should also lift up positive alternatives to content that glorifies gun culture and foster opportunities for young people to have healthy, safe, joyful interactions online. Project Unloaded’s SNUG campaign recruits social media influencers to spread the word that people are “safer not using guns” (SNUG). I’m currently working with data scientists, designers, social workers, and young people to design an AI-powered platform called JoyNet, an online space for Black youth that centers well-being, healing, and joy.

Read the full piece: https://www.newsweek.com/there-one-major-element-missing-debate-kids-social-media-opinion-1895270

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