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The potential harms of social media use is in the national spotlight as symptoms like depression and anxiety soar among young people.

Mitch Prinstein, who’s a professor of psychology and neuroscience at UNC, has been researching how technology use might be changing how kids develop biologically and psychologically at the Winston National Center on Technology Use, Brain and Psychological Development.

“During this incredibly important time of neural development, kids spending a remarkable amount of their attention on social media might be changing how it is they’re able to exhibit self-control or how sensitive they become to their social surroundings,” Prinstein said about a recent study involving 6th graders.

Prinstein said while social media is associated with a number of benefits, such as diverse friendships and more civic activism, there are warning signs.

“Not being able to really quit even when they want to,” Prinstein said. “We see some concerns around kids being exposed to cyber hates or being directed to content that we know is likely to increase their risk of psychological symptoms.”

ABC 11