Coping with COVID-19: How Young People Use Digital Media to Manage Their Mental Health

Common Sense

As we mark the first anniversary of the start of the coronavirus pandemic, one group that has been the focus of attention is young people. After a year of lockdowns and remote schooling and the disruption of social norms, teens and young adults are reporting growing levels of depression, stress, and anxiety.

CHCF partnered with Common Sense and Hopelab to better understand how young people have been using social media and digital health tools to take care of their mental health during the pandemic. Coping with COVID-19: How Young People Use Digital Media to Manage Their Mental Health, available on the Common Sense website, reveals that depression rates have increased significantly since 2018, especially among teens and young adults who have had coronavirus infections in their homes. Exposure to hate speech on social media also is on the rise.

Yet the report also reveals that young people are proactive in supporting their own mental health. Despite the negative content they see, digital media has been a lifeline for many of them to access critical health information, stay connected to their peers, find inspiration, and receive comfort in a difficult time.

CHCF president and CEO Sandra R. Hernández, MD, appears in this video produced by Common Sense that reviews the report’s key findings.


About the Authors

The report was authored by Victoria Rideout, MA, VJR Consulting; Susannah Fox with Internet Geologist; Alanna Peebles, PhD, Common Sense; and Michael B. Robb, PhD, Common Sense.