April 30 | Screen Struggles and Screen Delight Is Social Media Sabotaging or Saving Adolescent Mental Health?

Tuesday, April 30, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Moghadam Room 123, 615 Crothers Way on Stanford Campus.

Patti Valkenburg

Join the Cyber Policy Center on April 30th from Noon–1PM Pacific for Screen Struggles and Screen Delight: Is Social Media Sabotaging or Saving Adolescent Mental Health? with speaker Patti Valkenburg, Distinguished Professor of Communication at the University of Amsterdam and founder and director of Center for research on Children, Adolescents, and the Media. The seminar will be moderated by Jeff Hancock, co director of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center, and is part of the Spring Seminar Series, a series spanning April through June hosted at the Cyber Policy Center. Sessions are in-person and virtual, via Zoom and streamed via YouTube, with in-person attendance offered to Stanford affiliates only. Lunch is provided for in-person attendance and registration is required. Sessions will take place in Encina Commons, Moghadam Room 123, 615 Crothers Way on Stanford Campus.

Social media can be a source of joy and happiness for some adolescents but a trigger for sadness and depression in others. Why is that? In 2018, Patti Valkenburg and her team launched Project AWeSome—Adolescents, Well-being & Social Media—to explore the complex relationship between social media use and mental health. Pioneering a person-specific (or N=1) media effects approach, they combined qualitative in-depth interviews with large-scale longitudinal data analysis to understand how social media's impact on well-being differs from adolescent to adolescent. Both their qualitative and quantitative findings challenge common hypotheses about the impact of social media on well-being. In this seminar, Valkenburg will delve into these findings, discussing whose mental health is most likely affected by social media use and why. Her presentation will conclude by outlining future research directions that will further our understanding of social media’s role in adolescent lives.

About the Speaker:

A University Distinguished Professor at the University of Amsterdam, Patti Valkenburg’s research focuses on the impact of (social) media on youth and adults. She is particularly interested in theorizing, studying, and demonstrating how individuals differ in their susceptibility to the effects of (social) media. Her Differential Susceptibility to Media Effects Model, published in the Journal of Communication, has served as a theoretical basis for numerous academic publications, and it is taught in communication classes globally. An informative video clip from the University of Amsterdam explains her model and serves as a resource for undergraduate courses.

Valkenburg’s scholarly contributions have been recognized with multiple grants and awards. Notably, she was the first social scientist to receive the Dutch Spinoza Award, the most esteemed academic accolade in the Netherlands, accompanied by a grant of 2.5 million euros free to spend on research. Her recognitions also include an Advanced Investigator Grant from the European Research Council and the Steven Chaffee Career Achievement Award from the International Communication Association (ICA). She has been honored with fellowships from the ICA, Association for Psychological Science, and Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her commitment to accessible knowledge is evident in her open-access book, Plugged In, published by Yale University Press and translated into various languages.