Social media (SM) and the Internet have forever transformed human connection, communication, and interaction, and have emerged as powerful, yet controversial, sources of both substantial challenges and exciting opportunities to healthy emotional development. This is especially true for adolescents and young adults, who are among the highest utilizers of online resources and at the greatest risk for the emergence of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD).
Despite the established benefit of early intervention (EI) for youth with SSD, and the implementation of evidence-based EI programs throughout the US, several challenges persist including lengthy duration of untreated illness, poor engagement with services, high rates of relapse, and persistent social isolation and withdrawal. There is mounting evidence to suggest that these challenges can be addressed through online resources. However, despite enormous promise, online services have a number of problems yet to be solved.
This webinar aims to explore the complex relationship between SM, the Internet and early psychosis intervention and to cultivate a unified approach to researching and implementing these ubiquitous resources into clinical care . The technological ecosystem, and available literature, surrounding SM types, online platform affordances, adoption norms and their impact on health is rapidly evolving. Clearly defining the risks and benefits of SM use and Internet activity in youth with SSD would revolutionize our ability to effectively support them, as well as their allies, throughout the course of illness development and treatment.