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Social Media and Teenagers

The Effects of 21st Century Social Media on Teenage Mental Health

This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.

BACKGROUND:

It is commonly known that technology has an impact on our psyche and brain.

However, the impacts of technology are not considered when an individual uses it. Growing up in Silicon Valley, I was raised surrounded by the headquarters of tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Oracle, Tesla, Intel, etc. My father works for a tech company, my friends parents work for tech companies, and my classmates have built a desire to work for tech companies.

When I started this project, I Google searched “mental illness statistics in silicon valley” and pages of articles like these popped up:

 

These articles have been recently written about teenagers, like me, growing up in an area where technology is developing faster than ever. Why were there so many articles discussing Silicon Valley’s mental health problems? Will the developed area I live in ever disrupt my mental health? In my project, I wanted to research the true correlation between technology and mental health.


THE CHALLENGE:

 

As identified above, the use of social media has become more and more common throughout the beginning of the 21st century. Because of the world my generation has grown up in, we are prone to identifying with a false sense of reality. Photoshopped images on Instagram, advertisements, billboards, and magazines provide teenagers with a jaded idea of how life is suppose to be. Unfortunately, people never question these “perfect posts” and instead compare themselves to unrealistic expectations.

Teenage athletes, friends, students, and family members need to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of social media on their decisions and emotions because in the 21st century people can be too reliant on social media, creating a false sense of identity and reality.


SURVEY: 

Do you spend just as much time using technology as any other teenager? Find out here!

 

The amount of time spent and reliance on technology is concerning and has a direct correlation to teenager’s mental health. If people do not realize the negative impacts of technology, mental health statistics will continue to escalate.


THE SOLUTION:

My solution is inspired by Gary Turk who produced a spoken word film called Look Up.

My prototype is to create an enforced two-day social media program at my school called “Look Up.” Below is the letter that will be sent home to student’s parents regarding the program.

Below is a copy of the pamphlet that will be passed out to students once “Look Up” concludes.

Similar “day without media” program’s have been successfully completed.


Additional Resources: 

Is Overuse of Technology Affecting Mental Health?

3 Ways Technology Is Messing With Our Mental Health


SOURCES CITED:

“Facebook And Mental Health: Is Social Media Hurting Or Helping?” Mental Help Facebook and Mental Health Is Social Media Hurting or Helping Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.

“Make Political PR Great Again.” Trisight Communications. USC Annenberg, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.

“The Photo on the Left Is Me on a ‘normal’ Day, and On the Right Is the Side of Me Nobody Sees,” Wrote Pete Laws in a Facebook Post Monday. “Social Media and Mental Health: ‘We Are More than Our Profile Pictures’.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.

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