The Influencer Generation

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Carrots&Cake listened to the top Screen Time podcasts by TVO & summarized the key takeaways. Carrots&Cake independently created these podcast notes and does not have any affiliation with the Screen Time podcast.

Key Individuals

  • Francis Haugen - an American data engineer and scientist, product manager, and whistleblower. She disclosed tens of thousands of Facebook's internal documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission and The Wall Street Journal in 2021.
  • Sarah B'nai Weiser -   communications professor with a 20-year career studying women's representation in media
  • Candice Odgers -  Psychologist at UC Irvine in California, specializing in new technologies and how we can use them to understand and improve the lives of young people

Key Takeaways

  • Products developed by Facebook harm children, stoke division, and weaken democracy. The amplification algorithm, which behaves as an engagement-based ranking on Instagram, can lead children from very innocuous topics like healthy recipes to anorexia-promoting content over a short period of time.
  • Research by Candice Odgers suggests that poor mental health changes the way people interact with social media.

Intro

  • This episode discusses the power of visual platforms such as Instagram, Tik Tok, and Snapchat on teens' mental health and how it's continuously changing kids’ thoughts and behavior.

Milly 

  • A 17-year-old who suffered from anorexia describes her online presence as “ trying to raise awareness for the mental health issues that I am struggling with. And to be a person that people who are struggling with these mental health issues can relate to because it can be quite lonely when you're struggling by yourself.” 

Common Sense Media 

  • More than half of North American kids are on social media before the age of 13. Girls are joining social media at a critical stage in the development of their identity, and they're spending a lot of time in these aesthetically driven visual mediums.

Social media

  • Social media demands you to look perfect; it celebrates absolute perfection. A common trend on social media, primarily on Instagram, is the concept of "Perfection." On their primary account, they showcase an image of themselves as perfect while having a second account, limited to their close friends showing their true selves. This divide between the real and what they perceive themselves as is dangerous to their mental growth and intellect. 
  • There are substantially more female influencers than males, and the concept of ‘perfection’ is more common among girls
  • Is social media affecting my kid? -  We should actually engage in a conversation with kids and ask them what they're interested in and why they are interested in those things and help them navigate what's best for them.

Sarah B'nai Weiser with what's really influencing people on social media

  • Sarah B'nai Weiser’s work with young girls shows that early mental health problems are a leading indicator of how they might engage online.
  • One of the things that she finds particularly troubling for young girls and women on social media is the design app where they can face-tune and Photoshop their appearance. There are hundreds of beauty apps that are directed toward girls and young women that promote distorting their online appearance. 
  • I want to know where this idea of the perfect face even came from. - Within the “Love Your Body” idea, there still is a mainstream understanding of what ideal femininity should look like. That's what those beauty apps are based on. The option of making your nose thinner or your skin color more light and smooth is really killing the concept of being comfortable with your body. 

Candice Odgers

  • With all the research and findings available out there, it is known that pre-existing mental health issues make kids vulnerable, influencing their behavior toward sleeping, eating, and media consumption. It is even more serious for adolescent girls. 
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