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The Positive Impacts of Social Media

I wrote over the weekend about the growing amount of research showing that social media is not bad for kids generally and might even be good for them.

Interestingly, I then found this article that discusses work done by Harvard researchers to work with social media influencers to create and spread messages about mental health, help have open, honest communication about mental health issues, and reach kids normally underserved by traditional mental health resources.

Researchers team up with mental health influencers to reach young people online.

Unfortunately, NPR repeats the claims about the damage social media does to teens without noting the vast research that shows no causal link, but I think the Harvard folks get this right.

Quoting from the article:

But the social media ecosystem is vast, and millions of young people are online, searching for helpful information about #mentalhealth. So Yarnell and the other researchers wanted to see if social media could be used for good if they partnered with people like Speer.

This is the world we live in. Not one where teens would be fine if only they didn’t have social media, but one where teens take to social media to get information about mental health and other issues that they can’t talk to anyone else about. Getting rid of social media for minors will leave a void similar to the one I had growing up, where no one I knew talked about abuse or mental health issues, so I assumed I was the only one dealing with it.

That’s not a better world. I think a world where minors can access information provided by advocates who educate themselves about the facts and share their own lived experiences is invaluable. That’s what following these accounts can provide.

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