Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Media and Communication








There has been significant interest in the role of social media in the lives of adolescents, particularly as it relates to sexual risk. Researchers have focused on understanding usage behaviors, quantifying effects of social media exposure and activity, and using social media to intervene. Much of this work has focused on college students and non-minority youth. In this paper, we examine the growing body of literature around social media use among US minority youth and its intersection with sexual risk behavior. We introduce the concept of the “digital neighborhood” and examine the intersection of social media and sexual health in two domains: 1) sexual content in social media and 2) evidence of social media effects on sexual behavior. Finally, we discuss the opportunities and challenges for researchers and practitioners engaging youth of color.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© Robin Stevens, Jamie Dunaev, Ellen Malven, Amy Bleakley, Shawnika Hull. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original authors and source are credited.

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Communication Commons



Date Posted: 22 April 2019

This document has been peer reviewed.