Can we prevent social media from harming our mental health?

Can we prevent social media from harming our mental health?

Social media can harm a young person’s mental health. Can youth be taught to use the platforms responsibly and avoid excessive consumption? Teenage girl under pressure to achieve (Ikon Images via AP Images)  This article, by high school student Maria Ermanni,...

While there are positive aspects to social media platforms, they can also pose mental health risks. There is the fear of missing out and pressure to become more beautiful, slimmer, cooler and sportier. Student Maria Ermanni of Realgymnasium Rämibühl in Zürich talked to an expert about the positives and negatives of social media for teens and reached the conclusion that while social platforms have become an indispensable part of our daily lives, the responsibility for safe media use lies with the user.

Exercise: Have students write a paragraph that describes their best and worst experience with social media. Then ask them to consider whether they think that there should be limits on what people can post and share on social media, and if yes, what those limits should be. Ultimately, do they think that the benefits of social media outweigh the negative toll it has taken on the mental health of young people?

Decoder Podcast: A conversation with student Luna Lee

I will not let the kids of “Forgotten Schools” be forgotten

My parents bring school supplies and health necessities to rural China. “The Forgotten Schools of Ghost Town” is my calling, too. Four students walk up a barren mountain with dusty backpacks on their shoulders. We see them every year. The four are always...

Student reporter Luna Lee of Miss Porter’s School in the U.S. state of Connecticut gives a heart wrenching account of how children in rural parts of China willingly trek long distances in harsh conditions for an education housed in places few people would consider a school. Her first person story about a nonprofit run by her parents to help these schools and these young people demonstrates how in many places education is a privilege that people don’t take for granted.

Exercise: Students should consider whether in their own country education is considered a privilege or a human right. Have students look at this map of data from UNESCO of primary school completion rates and determine in what countries the fewest and largest percentages of students who go on to secondary education.

Youth Voices