The Social Media Well-Being Experiment

The Social Media Well-Being Experiment

Teen researchers Destinee Ramos and Isabel Yoblonski have received IRB approval and are now recruiting participants for their nationwide study on teen social media habits and mental and physical health.

Mar 2, 2022
By Alix Mitchner
Four people on laptops using social media

The Social Media Well-Being Experiment

There have been a lot of developments in the Social Media Detox Experiment since our last post about the pilot study on social media use and adolescent girls’ health.

One thing that has stayed the same, however,  is the tenacity of Destinee Ramos and Isabel Yoblonski.  These two have shown no signs of stopping since their media appearances last fall. With growing academic and public interest in screen time and teen well-being, Destinee and Isabel have turned to science to explore the relationship between social media use and teenage mental and physical health. Their aim is to introduce evidence-based recommendations for healthy usage to both the scientific community and the general public. 

Instagram Funding

Amidst the attention surrounding their pilot study, the girls have caught the eye of one social media giant in particular - Instagram. Although the platform has been heavily criticized for its effect on teens, it has decided to address the issue through research. In an effort to promote adolescent mental health and protect teens,  Instagram has provided a substantial donation to Destinee and Isabel’s GoFundMe campaign. After all, who better to help conduct the research than the ones most impacted by it?

Destinee and Isabel taking a photo of themselves on a smartphone
Teen researchers Destinee Ramos and Isabel Yoblonski

IRB Approval

Isabel and Destinee worked assiduously to get IRB approval from WCG IRB with guidance from mentors from Harvard University, Drs. Andrew Ahn and Emily Weinstein,  along with UC Berkeley’s Dr. Azure Grant. 

The IRB process is arduous for anyone, let alone teenagers.  But now they are ready for the exciting part –actually getting their study off the ground. 

Study Recruitment

They are currently recruiting participants for the first-ever nationwide study launched by teenagers using innovative technologies. Since the use of wearables enables them to conduct the study remotely from end to end, they are in a unique position to recruit from all over the United States. They’re recruiting 50 teen girls throughout the U.S. between the ages of 15-17.

Study Protocol

Using Garmin smartwatches, participants’ heart rate, stress, heart rate variability (HRV), and sleep quality will be recorded.  Data will be collected through Labfront and the Garmin app 24/7 over a two-week period. Participants will be randomly assigned to complete either a full disengagement from social media for 4 days  (Intervention 1) or a partial disengagement from social media with restricted access from 5 PM- 8 AM (Intervention 2) for 4 days. Daily digital questionnaires will also be completed to compare self-reported and objective data. 

We hope this study can help in answering questions about optimizing social media habits in ways that support mental and physical health. Keep checking our blog for more updates! 

Last medically reviewed on
Aug 26, 2022
Alix Mitchner
Alix Mitchner
Marketing Specialist

Alix doubles as the marketing and pun specialist at Labfront. She usually operates quietly behind the scenes, but give her a karaoke mic and all bets are off.

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