A new research center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will examine the long-term effects of technology and social media use on teen social and emotional development, thanks to a $10 million gift from the Winston Family Foundation. The Winston National Center on Technology Use, Brain and Psychological Development will create more tools for parents, caregivers and teens to make better informed choices about how they interact with technology and social media.
Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D., ABPP, chief science officer at the American Psychological Association and John Van Seters Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Eva Telzer, Ph.D., a UNC-Chapel Hill associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, will serve as co-directors of the new center, evolving from their current co-directorship of WiFi. Their preliminary research indicates teenagers spend more than eight hours daily on cell phones, with a significant portion of time on social media. The Winston National Center will further explore the links between teens’ online behavior and a range of mental health symptoms.