Nobel Conference speaker Brendesha TynesDr. Brendesha Tynes is presenting a lecture at the Nobel Conference - “Adolescents’ daily race-related experiences and mental health outcomes.”
Posted on June 12th, 2022 by

Dr. Brendesha Tynes is Dean’s Professor of Equity and Professor of Education and Psychology at the University of Southern California. Her lecture at the conference is “Adolescents’ daily race-related experiences and mental health outcomes.”

Access to digital media permeates our society, perhaps particularly among young people. In one recent survey of middle and high schoolers, 95% acknowledge owning a smartphone, and being on that device much of the time. While digital media present tremendous educational and social benefits, they also bring risks and challenges, particularly for young people of color, who experience cyberbullying and other forms of victimization.

In a longitudinal study of more than 1,000 young people in grades 6-12, educational psychologist Brendesha Tynes found that 559 were cyberbullied or harassed online.Tynes’s study identified a reciprocal relationship between depressive factors and cyber victimization–that is, between being victimized and experiencing symptoms of depression.

A former history and global studies teacher, Brendesha Tynes began her research career seeking to understand the racial dynamics in unmonitored chat rooms. She has spent the intervening 20 years studying the racial landscape adolescents navigate. That experience motivated her to explore issues related to digital access and the mental health effects of racially-driven digital experiences, including viral videos depicting discrimination or brutality against people of color. Tynes is recognized as one of the first to confirm that students of color are more likely to suffer online victimization that negatively impacts academic and mental health outcomes. These negative outcomes are magnified by the adolescents’ attachment to their phones, as their constant access allows them to review videos and messages that result in further damage. To mitigate these negative impacts, Tynes recommends strengthening communication between young people and caring adults, promoting empathy, identifying the adolescents’ strengths, and strategizing ways to respond to these types of encounters. She is developing a theory of Black thriving that draws on Afrofuturism and developmental science to explain how to create environments for optimal learning and development.

Tynes serves as the Dean’s Professor of Equity and professor of education and psychology at the University of Southern California–Rossier School of Education. She holds a PhD in educational psychology from UCLA. She is currently working on a digital app to empower people of all ages to question and combat racially insensitive messages online. Called CRITmetic, the app equips users with critical race digital literacy skills.

Learn More – What is the scope of cyberbullying and what does it entail?

  • Cyber victimization continues to be a challenge. This article provides statistics on cyber victimization and highlights its extent.
  • 8 Case studies on examples of cyber racism can be found here.
  • This podcast from New York Public Radio discusses bystander intervention in instances of cyberbullying and hate speech.

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