This National Center of Excellence will serve as a centralized, trusted source for evidence-based education and technical assistance to support the mental health of children and adolescents as they navigate social media.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Center of Excellence: Creating a Healthy Digital Ecosystem for Children and Youth is dedicated to promoting healthy social media use and pediatric mental wellbeing.
Social media use starts during childhood and can play a significant role in the relationships and experiences that impact the growth, development and mental health of children and teens.
The Center will serve as a centralized, trusted source of evidence and support for children and teens, parents, educators, pediatricians and other professionals who help youth navigate social media.
The Center’s work is guided by its co-Medical Directors, Megan Moreno, MD, MPH, MSEd, FAAP and Jenny Radesky, MD, FAAP, who are experts in the field of youth development and media. We will have collaborative conversations with youth, families and community representatives, with lived experience, to help inform and shape our work.
Who We Are
Megan Moreno, MD, MPH, MSEd, FAAP
Dr. Moreno is the Interim Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on 3 core areas: 1) innovative approaches to adolescent health using social media, 2) internet safety education and 3) measuring technology use and misuse. You can follow her team on social media on @SMAHRTeam. Clinically, she is interested in complex medical conditions and the intersection of physical and mental health among adolescents. She is author of a parenting handbook for internet safety based on research and collaborations with the American Academy of Pediatrics and was the lead author on the 2016 policy statement Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents. Dr. Moreno is passionate about helping teens through the challenges around balancing relationships, influences, and experiences, and to consider ways in which technology may provide new venues for education and support.
Jenny Radesky, MD, FAAP
Dr. Radesky is Director of the Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School. Her research examines the use of mobile and interactive technology by parents and young children and how this relates to child self-regulation and parent-child interaction. Clinically, her work focuses on autism, ADHD, and advocacy. She has authored American Academy of Pediatrics policy statements on digital media use in early childhood including Media and Young Minds and Digital Advertising to Children. She has two children, 9 and 13 years old, who keep her laughing and humble about media use! Dr. Radesky is excited to bring together her clinical, research, and knowledge experience to the Center’s work. You can follow her on Twitter @jennyradesky.
What We Do
The Center will share evidence around the benefits and risks of social media use and expand the growing field of research around actionable solutions to protect youth mental health online.
Imbalances in these benefits and risks of social media use can harm mental health, exacerbate existing health disparities and compound systemic inequities for young people.
By listening to families, partnering with experts and communities and engaging with industry, the Center will work to:
- Improve the mental health of children and teens by reducing the risks and leveraging the benefits of social media.
- Build the capacity of individuals who work with youth to mitigate social media’s harmful impacts on mental wellbeing and promote healthy social media use.
- Synthesize and promote the evidence base and best practices for healthy social media use via communication, guidance and other resources.
Contact the Center of Excellence
For more information about the Center of Excellence, please contact us.
Funding for the Center of Excellence was made possible by Grant No. SM087180 from SAMHSA of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, SAMHSA/HHS or the US Government.
American Academy of Pediatrics