Teens take to Instagram over declining self-esteem

Teens take to Instagram over declining self-esteem

Now, a digital platform is readying teenagers to fight social media’s negative impact on user self-esteem -- especially among teenage users.

A group of 30 selected teenagers from various schools and colleges from across Bengaluru have got a chance to spread awareness on social media about the deteriorating mental health of youngsters who engage on social platforms.  

The initiative is run by Counter Speech Fellowship, a not-for-profit organisation in collaboration with Instagram.

Though a friendly intervention was the need of the hour to help young minds cope with their mental health, the medium had to be attractive to keep them interested. It was finally decided to administer the ‘medicine’ through social media itself.

The group is generating posts -- videos, poems, songs, graphics pertaining to overcoming anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying and other concerns, including body shaming. They share them on designated handles on Instagram to reach a wider audience.

The fellowship is designed around three pillars -- awareness, advocacy and change, where teenagers are taught about the causes and effects of mental stress along with tips to surmount them. “Various illustrators and mental health advocates meet teenagers and provide them tips, as to how to cope with mental stress. They help them generate relevant content to post on Instagram,” said Tara Bedi, Public Policy Programs Manager, Instagram India. “They are given themes such as depression, anxiety, bullying, body shaming and others. The teenagers would generate content based on these themes,” she said.

Social media pros and cons

“Social media has its pros and cons. The idea that my story is not alone and there are different people out there who are going through this, is something the teens realise via sharing such posts. When they post content related to issues they face on Instagram, it reaches out to a larger audience. When they comment on other posts and share them, they get to know how to cope with it. Besides, the teens share motivational content that is very helpful to each other,” said Tara Bedi. “Teenagers understand better when something is shared among their peers,” she added.