The Future of Mental Health and Social Media

WeAre8 Community

"It’s Mental Health Awareness Week - a subject that is extremely important to WeAre8 and has been front of mind as we’ve built the app and shaped the experience for our citizens.

Our approach to social media is building technology that serves people and the planet. Technology that inspires you everyday and brings you together with your friends in a space that feels safe and non-judgemental - where you can be your biggest, most amazing self everyday. A new social home that inspires you to feel good, to have a voice, and to feel heard and loved. Social media that helps you realize your amazing power to change the world through small daily actions.

I am hoping you will love the following words from our very own Lucy O’Brien, as much as I do, as she shares her experience and deep hope for Gen Zs to get this right."

Sue Fennessy

Founder & CEO of WeAre8

"When Kate Winslet took to the stage to call out the toxicity of social media on young people and families at the BAFTA’s last Sunday, it struck a chord. “I Am Ruth [the series in which she played the award-winning lead] is made for families who feel they are held hostage by the perils of the online world – for parents who wish they could communicate with their teenagers, but no longer can,” Winslet said. It’s an experience that my generation knows all too well.

Sure, we Gen Z’s have heralded the age of social media; we post photo dumps of our week to commemorate good times, vlog our daily life for others to tag along, and enjoy indulging in the lifestyle content that others post in return. At the best of times, it can feel like one big club; like being in on ‘the bit’. But with these new ways to feel connected too brings a darker side. With almost unlimited access to the world around us just a scroll away, it’s too easy to become addicted to the never ending cycle of it all, while picking up harmful habits of excessive screen time and discovering inappropriate content along the way. A 2019 US study found that 12-15-year-olds who spent three hours or more a day on social media are at heightened risk of mental health problems. Exposure to unrealistic body standards, risk of anonymous bullying, lack of accurate age monitoring and safeguarding, less socialising IRL – we all know by now that the digital world can be pretty unsafe, and excessive social media use is simply not compatible with our mental (and even psychical) health. Safe to say, I resonated with Winslet’s cry for help. 

As someone who pretty much grew up in tandem with the rise of social media (although 10-year-old me did have the privilege of partaking in the far more simple era of Nokia Bricks, LG Cookies and Blackberries – ah, what a time!), even I can see change is necessary. When I get my weekly screen time notification, I’m almost always left shocked and embarrassed at the figure that confronts me. Social media is meant to make us feel more connected, not disenchanted or alienated from the world around us. 

The feel-good social movement is here to change all this, and, I hope, here to stay. While I don’t think social media should be eradicated – let’s be real, it can also be fun and a great way to find relatable or informative information – it does need to fundamentally change. Sucking us into algorithms and exposing us to harmful content is not what the online world should be. Nor should social media be the beginning and end of our day-to-day life. 

I for one am hopeful that platforms like WeAre8 are the beginning of a social revolution – one that I would feel safe and proud to pass on to the next generation."

If you’re in need of support for your mental health, you can find help, guidance and resources here.

Lucy O’Brien
Social and Content Coordinator at WeAre8

About WeAre8

WeAre8 is the world's only sustainable social media app that is free from hate, is good for the planet, can put money in people's wallets, and reconnects people with the true meaning of community.

How WeAre8 works:

• WeAre8 Citizens are invited to watch eight minutes of curated content daily on the reimagined social media feed - the 8Stage. The content is dedicated to positivity, sharing different world perspectives, nurturing community and encourages people to make collective impact.

• 8Citizens can follow creators from around the world or become a verified 8Creator and contribute to a more mindful social media community

• Watch opt-in adverts and WeAre8 shares a portion of the revenue with you for your time. For every ad you choose to watch, you receive small payments in your 8Wallet that you can pay forward to the aligned charity partners or in support of climate solutions.

• After eight minutes, WeAre8 actively encourages people to go and enjoy the rest of their day off their screens.WeAre8 is the world's only B-Corp certified social media platform, with 50% of profits going back to people's pockets through a revolutionised advertising experience, 5% to charities and carbon offsetting and 5% to a creator fund. Since launching in the UK earlier this year, WeAre8 has hundreds of thousands of citizens actively impacting charities and paying it forward in support of climate solutions.

WeAre8 is available to download now from Apple App Store or Google Play.

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