Articles, Mental Health, Technology

The Missing Puzzle Piece in the Digital Wellness Community

puzzle pieces
[BIO] 

My name is Emma Lembke, and I am the Co-Founder and CEO of the LOG OFF Movement. I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Currently I attend a small private school in Alabama, and I am a current rising senior. I created the idea for LOG OFF because I began to notice my own social media addiction and its negative emotional effect on me. At LOG OFF, we are passionate about lowering social media’s impact on mental health while teaching teenage users and their parents about how to navigate the vast inner-workings of life on social media. [logoffmovement.org]

The Missing Puzzle Piece in the Digital Wellness Community

The past few years have issued in an era of digital reflection. iPhones have been in the market and the hands of millions for over ten years. In that time, social media apps have won the hearts of consumers, specifically Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Tik Tok, Twitter, and Facebook. Quickly, life without social media began to feel impossible and frankly, archaic. As more users flooded to create online accounts, the worldwide average time spent on technology began to rise exponentially. For years, the detrimental effects social media had on its users’ mental health were ignored.
These effects, such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc, are exacerbated by the hyper connected and commercial nature of social media.

Social media platforms work to provide users with a perpetually increasing amount of content

This never ending stream of news makes users feel unable to detach from these apps out of fear of missing out on vital information. In addition to FOMO, apps place value on its users by quantifying their worth through likes, comments, etc. These two issues have the capability to trigger increased feelings of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, etc; therefore, social media can pose as an inhibitor to each individual’s wellness journey. This reality was only recently highlighted and addressed through the proliferation of the digital wellness industry. 

The digital wellness industry is composed of hundreds of companies attempting to eradicate technology’s parasitic relationship with users, and instead, teach healthy digital practices. TTYL is one of these outstanding companies. Although each company’s approach to solving the issue differs, the community is an inviting place teeming with productive discourse and encouragement. But there remains one major issue within the digital wellness industry that serves as a growth inhibitor. What is this mystical missing puzzle piece? My generation, otherwise known as teenagers.girls celebrate the sunset

Nowadays, teenagers have a rather bad reputation for their angst and apathy. They are portrayed by the media as unwilling to change their digital habits, and therefore, their presence in the digital wellness scene is dismal. I am here to change the narrative and emphasize the importance in incorporating teenage voices into the digital wellness community. The community’s overarching mission is to make users more aware of destructive digital habits by providing an array of possible solutions. If fellow members of the digital wellness community desire to enact real change, we must begin teaching healthy habits and raising awareness with the users at the very center of the issue. 

Teenagers are some of the most active and impressionable users on social media platforms.

It is imperative to draw teenagers into the conversation in order to accomplish one major feat: Members of the digital wellness community must assist in dispelling the stigma against discussing digital safety among teens. For years, teenagers have been bombarded with criticism due to the excessive usage of social media apps.

This criticism was largely rejected because of the generational disconnect between the members in the discussion. In order to repair the damage done by these unproductive conversations, teenagers should be welcomed into the digital wellness space as equals with important voices. Once more young voices play active roles in the community, hopefully discussing digital safety and wellness between teenagers will become more widely accepted. In order to teach teenagers, like myself, healthy digital practices, we all must first work to break down the stigma surrounding the topic itself. 

Young people are in the middle of today’s digital chaos, and therefore, they have invaluable insight that many older leaders in the community do not have. By incorporating more teenage voices into the digital wellness space, the community can expand and begin to encompass the age demographic that is being most heavily affected. Stand up with me and my fellow teenagers as we put the missing puzzle piece back into the digital wellness community, because only when the picture is full, can its impact be truly realized. 

[email protected]

Emma Lembke is a student at the Altamont School and a member of the Springboaders teen leadership group of GirlSpring.

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