Counseling helps kids avoid risky behavior online: U.W. study

Even a conversation with their doctor made a difference for teens and young adults
A U.W.-Madison study finds even a few minutes of counseling makes a difference
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:26 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A message to parents about teenagers and risky online behavior: A new study shows counseling is a good way to prevent it.

The study was by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They found teenagers and young adults could benefit from social media counseling and regular checkups. This could even be a conversation your child has with their pediatrician.

The study involved nearly 11,000 people ages 14 through 25. It found young people whose doctor provided social media counseling were twice as likely to not get involved in risky behavior with a stranger online.

Doctors from over 100 medical practices in the country participated. They all took social media intervention training. They learned all it takes is just a few minutes of counseling to make a difference for their patients.

UW-Madison researchers say communication is what’s important here.

They plan to do another study that will use brain imaging to look at how exposure to social media impacts a child’s brain over a two-year period.