Perfectly Imperfect: Teen Council Rethinks Social Media | Community

Tthree girls are sitting in the park having fun together in the summer sun. Jamie and Taylor laugh, but Jordan spends the entire time taking selfies with his phone. With each shot, he cringes trying to adjust the filters and remove all the imperfections from the photo.

Jamie asks if Jordan is okay. She rebuffs her friend, but Jamie insists until Jordan exclaims, “You don’t understand! People rate it that way on social media. I have to look perfect.” Jordan’s friends are surprised. They think she’s beautiful.

So begins the PSA, “Perfectly Imperfect”, created by the Playa Vista/Palms-Rancho Park Teen Council. The short video follows three friends as they teach Jordan about body dysmorphia and discuss strategies to mitigate the damaging effects of social media. They detail ways to improve self-esteem and combat body dysmorphia, from therapy to asking family members for support. It ends with the three girls talking about three things they love about each other.

“Perfectly Imperfect” is just one component of a larger project led by the Playa Vista/Palms-Rancho Teens Leading Change Teen Council that looks at the impact of social media on mental health and body image.

Teens Leading Change is a larger Los Angeles Public Library initiative that encourages teen councils to create educational projects like this one. The program was first launched in 2018 by the Los Angeles Department of Youth Services and the Library Foundation to get teens more involved in civic action. Teen councils create a project, apply for a Teens Leading Change grant, and have one year to realize their vision.

Emily Meehan, a young adult librarian at the Playa Vista Branch Library, says her Teen Council has completed three Teens Leading Change projects. She says the topic of social media and body image evolved naturally from the challenges her board members face daily.

“They are on the front lines of the adolescent mental health crisis. They told me that they have friends and even themselves who are really suffering, especially since the pandemic, from loneliness and depression and do not feel that the world is kind to them,” Meehan says.

Meehan says that at teen council meetings, the group discussed questions such as “Is social media good or bad?” and “How responsible are social media companies in all of this?” She says the biggest challenge for teen board members was recognizing that the issue of social media and mental health is not binary.

“The problem we ran into for a while was that we should be using social media to get our message across,” says Meehan. “We came to the conclusion that it is complicated. Social media can be a good way to spread our information as people are already on social media. … I think it was a fun challenge at first – do we want to use the things we’ve been very critical of?”

For their latest project, council members, many of whom are interested in film, wanted to create a documentary, but Meehan says the group ultimately decided to create several shorter PSA videos and create news articles about the intersection of social media and mental health.

The Teen Council will also hold a Teens Leading Change event on June 3 for teens in Playa Vista, Palms and Rancho Park to discuss the impact of social media. There, the Teen Council will showcase their PSA and have an open conversation about social media; healthy habits; and resources available to someone who may be suffering from body image issues, cyberbullying or even social media addiction.

“The conclusion our teenagers came to is that social media is not good for you or it is not bad for you. It’s complicated,” says Meehan. “What we want to achieve is that you don’t have to completely remove social media from your life. You don’t have to take it forever, but we’re trying to teach you how to manage your social media use and be mindful.”

Healthy and mindful social media for teenagers

WHEN: 14:00 to 15:00 on Saturday, June 3

WHERE: Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library, 2920 Overland Avenue, Los Angeles

COST: Free


Source link

Leave a Comment