2024 Summer Institute in Adolescent Health

2024 Summer Institute

Cultivating Adolescent Well-Being in the Digital Age

All of us are social creatures, and the strength of our relationships has a significant impact on our overall well-being. Young people use social media to build connections, access resources, and explore their identities. Adults are sometimes aware of the positive and negative aspects of technology, but often struggle to guide and advise adolescents on safe and healthy use when technology is constantly present and ever-changing.

During the 2024 Summer Institute in Adolescent Health, we will explore how professionals, parents, and caring adults can engage with and promote the healthy use of technology. Identify how childhood experiences with social media affect adolescent brain development and social, behavioral, academic, and health outcomes. Examine digital literacy, dissect the exploitative nature of influencer culture, and develop skills to empower youth with marginalized identities. Gain an understanding of current advocacy efforts at state and national levels aimed at boosting online protections for youth and envision a future where young people’s needs come before advertisers’ and big tech’s profits.

Day One: July 22

Daily Theme: Research & Youth Perspectives on the Impacts of Technology


  • Learn from youth as trends in social media and technology use are shared, as well as stories behind the numbers.

  • Explore what we know about technology and its impacts on adolescent development.

  • Examine how technology use affects adolescents’ mental and emotional health, sleep, body image, and social relationships.

  • Learn from youth leaders involved in an intergenerational program providing resources to educate and advocate for tech accountability.

Day Two: July 23

Daily Theme: Adolescent Development & Support for Young People in Navigating Their Digital Worlds


  • Examine adolescent brain and cognitive development, as well as what we know about how technology use impacts brain development.

  • Consider positive and negative impacts of social media use on the mental health of youth of color.

  • Develop a toolkit with best practices, strategies, and skills to help adolescents develop digital media literacy and support them as they navigate their digital worlds.

  • Learn from youth leaders involved in an intergenerational program providing resources to educate and advocate for tech accountability.

Day Three: July 24

Daily Theme: Preventing Online Harms Through Legislation & Collective Action 


  • Gain awareness of the policy landscape regarding digital protections to promote Big Tech accountability.

  • Investigate strategies for online safety and prevention of online harms.

  • Learn how to take action in your community. 

  • Learn from youth leaders involved in an intergenerational program providing resources to educate and advocate for tech accountability.

Guest speakers
Ellen Selkie
Ellen Selkie, MD, MPH (she/her), is the principal investigator at the Learning More from Adolescents Online (LMFAO) lab and an adolescent medicine specialist at the University of Wisconsin Health Kids. 
Sylia Wilson
Sylia Wilson, PhD, MS (she/her), is an associate professor at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. She studies the development and etiology of psychopathology - the underlying process that leads to the development of internalizing and externalizing problems.
Ashlee Milton
Ashlee Milton, MS (they/she), is a PhD candidate in Computer Science at the University of Minnesota. Their current research focuses on understanding the experiences and needs of users when navigating information systems (such as TikTok) for mental health information.
Henry Willis
Henry Willis, PhD, MA (he/him), is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland where he is the creator and director of the Cultural Resilience, Equity, and Technology (CREATE) research lab. His program of research includes exploring the relationship between online and offline racial discrimination and mental health outcomes among African American youth and young adults.
Haley Hinkle
Haley Hinkle, JD (she/her), is a policy counsel at Fairplay, an organization that works to enhance the well-being of children by eliminating the exploitative and harmful business practices of marketers and Big Tech. She works to advocate for laws and regulations that protect children and teens' autonomy and safety online.