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How Social Media Can Impact Your Child's Brain – and What You Can Do

Diverse group of children playing on smartphones, reading, on social networks

WFAA Daybreak

Marc Istook

Studies suggest still-developing pediatric brains are especially susceptible to the addictive effects of social media.


Dr. Julie Fratantoni recently spoke about the impact of social media on the developing brain on WFAA Daybreak with newscaster Marc Istook. According to a Pew Research study, 36% of teens admit they spend too much time on social apps, with 54% confessing that giving up this activity would prove difficult. Research scientists like Dr. Fratantoni point out that the brain's reward network compels us to keep checking social media, seeking out the dopamine hit that comes with another like, view or friend request. But this nonstop flow of dopamine takes a toll on brain health – decreasing attention, focus and quality of sleep and in-person interactions, as well as time spent recharging the brain. However, the incredible neuroplasticity of the pediatric brain also allows children a heightened ability to "rewire" their cognitive processes by intentionally practicing brain-healthy habits.


“Allowing children to be bored, allowing them to have downtime, that really fosters creativity. That's a really important piece, not just for children but for adults, throughout our day to build in periods of space, of no input, so that the brain can actually rest and the default mode network can activate."Julie Fratantoni, Ph.D
Watch Dr. Fratantoni's full interviewWatch Marc Istook's segment and read the article on WFAA

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Julie Fratantoni, PhD, CCC-SLP

Julie Fratantoni, PhD, CCC-SLP Head of Operations, The BrainHealth Project Research Scientist

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