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Candice Odgers - UC Irvine. Irvine, CA, US

Candice Odgers

Professor Psychological Science | UC Irvine

Irvine, CA, UNITED STATES

Candice Odgers is a developmental psychologist who studies adolescents’ mental health and development.

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CARTA:Tool Use andTechnology:Candice Odgers-Digital Technology and the Development of the Human Mind Generation AI: AICan 2019 Keynote address by Candice Odgers A brief talk with Candice Odgers

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Biography

Candice Odgers is a developmental psychologist who studies adolescents’ mental health and development. Her research team tracks adolescents’ daily mental health and device use via smartphones and has built new virtual tools for capturing the neighborhoods where children live and attend school.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Early Adversity

Quantitative Psychology

Social Inequality

Technology and Young People

Digital Inequality

Developmental Psychology

Adolescent Mental Health

Accomplishments (5)

Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest Early Career Award (professional)

2015 American Psychological Association

Janet Taylor Spence Award (professional)

2012 Association for Psychological Science

Excellence in Mentorship Award (professional)

2012 Institute for Clinical and Translational Science

Early Career Contributions Award (professional)

2011 Society for Research on Child Development

Distinguished Assistant Professor Award for Research (professional)

2010 University of California, Irvine

Education (3)

University of Virginia: PhD, Psychology 2005

Simon Fraser University: MA 2001

Simon Fraser University: BA 1999

Affiliations (2)

  • Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology : Editorial Board
  • Perspectives on Psychological Science : Editorial Board

Media Appearances (19)

Opinion: Are Smartphones Driving Our Teens to Depression?

The New York Times  online

2024-05-01

Candice Odgers, of the University of California, Irvine, … published a much-debated review of [Jonathan] Haidt’s [new book] in Nature, in which she declared “the book’s repeated suggestion that digital technologies are rewiring our children’s brains and causing an epidemic of mental illness is not supported by science.”

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The Battle Over Gen Z Minds - Sad, Bad Or Mad?

Forbes  online

2024-05-01

Candice L. Odgers, associate dean for research and a professor of psychological science and informatics at the University of California, Irvine …. recently published a review of [Jonathan] Haidt’s book in Nature warning against over-blaming tech and social media for the state of the world’s young. She says that this allows us to take our eye off the ball of other potential causes – and solutions – too quickly. “We have a generation in crisis,” she writes, “and in desperate need of the best of what science and evidence-based solutions can offer. Unfortunately, our time is being spent telling stories that are unsupported by research and that do little to support young people who need, and deserve, more.”

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The Anxious Generation wants to save teens. But the bestseller’s anti-tech logic is skewed

The Guardian  online

2024-04-27

But as the University of California, Irvine, psychology professor Candice Odgers asked in her critique of The Anxious Generation in Nature, “Is social media really behind an epidemic of teenage mental illness?” The answer, per Odgers, is no. Blisteringly, she accuses [Jonathan] Haidt of “making up stories by simply looking at trend lines” and says his book’s core argument “is not supported by science”. Haidt makes the basic error of mistaking correlation with causation, she says. In a review of 40 previous studies published in 2020, Odgers found no cause-effect relationship between smartphone ownership, social media usage and adolescents’ mental health.

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The Anxious Generation wants to save teens. But the bestseller’s anti-tech logic is skewed

The Guardian  online

2024-04-27

But as the University of California, Irvine, psychology professor Candice Odgers asked in her critique of The Anxious Generation in Nature, “Is social media really behind an epidemic of teenage mental illness?” The answer, per Odgers, is no. Blisteringly, she accuses [Jonathan] Haidt of “making up stories by simply looking at trend lines” and says his book’s core argument “is not supported by science”. Haidt makes the basic error of mistaking correlation with causation, she says. In a review of 40 previous studies published in 2020, Odgers found no cause-effect relationship between smartphone ownership, social media usage and adolescents’ mental health.

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The Anxious Generation wants to save teens. But the bestseller’s anti-tech logic is skewed

The Guardian  online

2024-04-27

But as the University of California, Irvine, psychology professor Candice Odgers asked in her critique of The Anxious Generation in Nature, “Is social media really behind an epidemic of teenage mental illness?” The answer, per Odgers, is no. Blisteringly, she accuses [Jonathan] Haidt of “making up stories by simply looking at trend lines” and says his book’s core argument “is not supported by science”. Haidt makes the basic error of mistaking correlation with causation, she says. In a review of 40 previous studies published in 2020, Odgers found no cause-effect relationship between smartphone ownership, social media usage and adolescents’ mental health.

view more

The Battle Over Gen Z Minds - Sad, Bad Or Mad?

Forbes  online

2024-05-01

Candice L. Odgers, associate dean for research and a professor of psychological science and informatics at the University of California, Irvine …. recently published a review of [Jonathan] Haidt’s book in Nature warning against over-blaming tech and social media for the state of the world’s young. She says that this allows us to take our eye off the ball of other potential causes – and solutions – too quickly. “We have a generation in crisis,” she writes, “and in desperate need of the best of what science and evidence-based solutions can offer. Unfortunately, our time is being spent telling stories that are unsupported by research and that do little to support young people who need, and deserve, more.”

view more

Opinion: Are Smartphones Driving Our Teens to Depression?

The New York Times  online

2024-05-01

Candice Odgers, of the University of California, Irvine, … published a much-debated review of [Jonathan] Haidt’s [new book] in Nature, in which she declared “the book’s repeated suggestion that digital technologies are rewiring our children’s brains and causing an epidemic of mental illness is not supported by science.”

view more

Jonathan Haidt Blamed Tech for Teen Anxiety. Managing the Blowback Has Become a Full-Time Job.

The Wall Street Journal  online

2024-05-10

A review in the prestigious journal Nature says there’s no evidence to support his theory and accuses him of fearmongering. “Worse, the bold proposal that social media is to blame might distract us from effectively responding to the real causes of the current mental-health crisis in young people,” Candice L. Odgers, a psychology professor and associate dean for research at the University of California, Irvine, wrote in Nature.

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The great rewiring: is social media really behind an epidemic of teenage mental illness?

Nature  online

2024-04-29

Candice Odgers, UC Irvine professor of psychological science and informatics, writes: “Two things need to be said after reading The Anxious Generation. First, this book is going to sell a lot of copies, because Jonathan Haidt is telling a scary story about children’s development that many parents are primed to believe. Second, the book’s repeated suggestion that digital technologies are rewiring our children’s brains and causing an epidemic of mental illness is not supported by science. Worse, the bold proposal that social media is to blame might distract us from effectively responding to the real causes of the current mental-health crisis in young people.”

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Why Are Teens Depressed? It's Not Social Media

Reason  online

2024-02-11

But the research is not so clear-cut. Human beings are complicated. "Social media" platforms are a broad and changing category, but they are fundamentally forms of communication. Communication can be good , … can be bad, and, in most cases, can be something in between. Most of the material on platforms like Snapchat is less edifying than Leo Tolstoy. But as University of California, Irvine, psychologist Candice Odgers once put it, "You can hate social media, but it is not the case that it is driving teen suicide, depression, and anxiety."

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UCI Seeks National Benchmark for Children Learning AI

Orange County Business Journal  online

2023-10-02

The University of California, Irvine is studying the potential for artificial intelligence to improve learning among school children around the world. Candice Odgers, a UCI professor of psychological science, is part of a team that is bringing together experts in computer science, technology and education to study the effect of technologies on children, such as whether it causes sleep deprivation. … Odgers co-leads a UCI program called Connecting the EdTech Research EcoSystems (CERES) along with Gillian Hayes, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the graduate division.

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Social media fueling youth mental health crisis? CIFAR researcher cites other causes

CIFAR  online

2023-08-25

For CIFAR researcher Candice Odgers, [UCI professor of psychological science], her studies challenge the popular assumption that social media is to blame. … ““Is social media bad for kids’ mental health?” And of course, the public sentiment around this is yes, but what people might not know is that the science around this does not support a resounding yes. I’ve worked on children’s mental health issues for the past 20 years and I have been tracking digital technology use and its effects on youth for the last decade ….” [said Odgers].

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What's the right age to get a smartphone?

BBC  online

2022-09-14

"By the time we get to older teens, over 90% of kids have a phone," says Candice Odgers, professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine, in the US.

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‘It’s Life or Death’: The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens

The New York Times  online

2022-04-23

“Young people are more educated; less likely to get pregnant, use drugs; less likely to die of accident or injury,” said Candice Odgers, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine. “By many markers, kids are doing fantastic and thriving. But there are these really important trends in anxiety, depression and suicide that stop us in our tracks.”

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The Metaverse’s Effects on Mental Health: Trivial or Troubling?

The Wall Street Journal  online

2022-01-09

"We have observed that youthful men and women are early and enthusiastic adopters of new technology. A ton of the effects [of the metaverse] are heading to depend on how mindful we are, as adults, as technology builders, policymakers, educators, at scaffolding that youth in a way that we know encourages optimistic improvement. [...]" —Candice Odgers, professor of psychological science, University of California, Irvine

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Senators to grill Instagram chief over platform’s effect on children

The Hill  online

2021-12-07

The analysis, as University of California Irvine psychological science professor Candice Odgers has pointed out, asked respondents about the impacts they think social media use has on them. That kind of self-reporting leaves space for external factors, like what people have heard about social media, to inform answers and is not very useful for establishing causal links.

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Better research into Instagram, WhatsApp effects on young users needed, academics say

USA Today  online

2021-12-06

Regardless, it's important to know how social media can lead to depression, anxiety and other issues for children, teens and young adults, said Candice Odgers, professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine, and one of the letter's authors.

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Is social media the main issue affecting our children's mental health?

WFTS  online

2021-10-14

Candice Odgers is a professor of psychological science at the University of California Irvine. “And so people have been treating it really as a smoking gun in terms of a big secret or evidence that social media is really harming young people," Odgers said.

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Are Facebook and Instagram as Bad for Teens as We Fear?

Psychology Today  online

2021-10-13

As Candice Odgers, a psychologist who studies adolescence at The University of California at Irvine and Duke University has found, many teens report that screens are harmful when asked because they are under the impression that they are harmful. Somewhat paradoxically, perceptions that screens are harmful to kids and teens are perpetuated by scary headlines, which prove, in a way, that screens are causing harm because we are living in fear of screen harm.

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Articles (8)

Annual Research Review: Adolescent mental health in the digital age: facts, fears, and future directions

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

2020 Adolescents are spending an increasing amount of their time online and connected to each other via digital technologies. Mobile device ownership and social media usage have reached unprecedented levels, and concerns have been raised that this constant connectivity is harming adolescents’ mental health.

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Young Adolescents' Digital Technology Use, Perceived Impairments, and Well-Being in a Representative Sample

The Journal of Pediatrics

2020 To examine the cross-sectional associations between young adolescents' access, use, and perceived impairments related to digital technologies and their academic, psychological, and physical well-being.

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Adolescents’ perceptions of family social status correlate with health and life chances: A twin difference longitudinal cohort study

PNAS

2020 Despite growing up in the same family, siblings do not always see their family’s social standing identically. Eighteen-year-old twins who rated their family as having higher social standing, compared with their cotwin’s rating, had fewer difficulties negotiating the transition to adulthood: they were less likely to be convicted of a crime, not in education, employment, or training, and had fewer mental health problems.

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Biological embedding of experience: A primer on epigenetics

PNAS

2019 Biological embedding occurs when life experience alters biological processes to affect later life health and well-being. Although extensive correlative data exist supporting the notion that epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation underlie biological embedding, causal data are lacking. We describe specific epigenetic mechanisms and their potential roles in the biological embedding of experience.

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Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all

Nature

2018 Last year, I received a phone call from an angry father. He had just read in the newspaper about my research suggesting that some adolescents might benefit from time spent online. Once, he raged, his children had been fully engaged with family and church and had talked non-stop at meal times. Now, as adolescents who were constantly connected to their phones, they had disappeared into their online lives.

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Persistence and Fadeout in the Impacts of Child and Adolescent Interventions

Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness

2015 Many interventions targeting cognitive skills or socioemotional skills and behaviors demonstrate initially promising but then quickly disappearing impacts. Our article seeks to identify the key features of interventions, as well as the characteristics and environments of the children and adolescents who participate in them, that can be expected to sustain persistently beneficial program impacts.

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Seven Fears and the Science of How Mobile Technologies May Be Influencing Adolescents in the Digital Age

Perspectives on Psychological Science

2015 Close to 90% of U.S. adolescents now own or have access to a mobile phone, and they are using them frequently. Adolescents send and receive an average of over 60 text messages per day from their devices, and over 90% of adolescents now access the Internet from a mobile device at least occasionally. Many adults are asking how this constant connectivity is influencing adolescents’ development.

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Systematic social observation of children’s neighborhoods using Google Street View: a reliable and cost‐effective method

The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

2012 Children growing up in poor versus affluent neighborhoods are more likely to spend time in prison, develop health problems and die at an early age. The question of how neighborhood conditions influence our behavior and health has attracted the attention of public health officials and scholars for generations. Online tools are now providing new opportunities to measure neighborhood features and may provide a cost effective way to advance our understanding of neighborhood effects on child health.

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