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Teen Mental Health in an Online World: Supporting Young People around their Use of Social Media, Apps, Gaming, Texting and the Rest

by Victoria Betton and James Woollard Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Pub Date:
Pbk 296 pages
AU$39.99 NZ$41.73
Product Status: In Stock Now
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This essential book shows practitioners how they can engage with teens' online lives to support their mental health. Drawing on interviews with young people it discusses how adults can have open and inquiring conversations with teens about both the positive and negative aspects of their use of online spaces. For most young people there is no longer a barrier between their 'real' and 'online' lives. This book reviews the latest research around this topic to investigate how those working with teenagers can use their insights into digital technologies to promote wellbeing in young people. It draws extensively on interviews with young people aged 12-16 throughout, who share their views about social media and reveal their online habits. Chapters delve into how teens harness online spaces such as YouTube, Instagram and gaming platforms for creative expression and participation in public life to improve their mental health and wellbeing. It also provides a framework for practitioners to start conversations with teens to help them develop resilience in respect of their internet use. The book also explores key risks such as bullying and online hate, social currency and the quest for 'likes', sexting, and online addiction. This is essential reading for teachers, school counsellors, social workers, and CAMHS professionals (from psychiatrists to mental health nurses) - in short, any practitioner working with teenagers around mental health.

Chapter 1. Introduction. Chapter 2. Social media, digital technologies and the internet: introducing teens' connected realities. Chapter 3. Getting creative - the affordances of digital for good mental health. Chapter 4. Developmental Frameworks and Perspectives. Chapter 5. From digital natives to digital differences. Chapter 6. Understanding adverse experiences online. Chapter 7. Digital resilience and digital rights. Chapter 8. A three-step framework for supporting teens' digital resilience. Chapter 9. Implications of digital technologies for young people's services.

In all the gloomy, even punitive talk about teens and social media, this spirited volume is most welcome. Betton and Woollard don't shy away from the worrying evidence of youthful mental health problems. But they weigh that evidence fairly, interpret it carefully, and set it in the context of the opportunities afforded by digital media. As they rightly ask, now that children grow up immersed in the digital age, what matters is what we - the responsible adults - do to support their mental health and their rights. Their many constructive suggestions point the way for parents, teachers, policy makers and others: I hope these adults are listening!
James Woollard is Clinical Leadership Fellow with Dr Geraldine Strathdee, National Clinical Director for Mental Health at NHS England.


Victoria Betton is a well known speaker on mental health and social media. She runs mHabitat, and researches and reports on mental health and digital to the NHS.