After School, ConnectSafely, Tumblr, and Facebook to Present at 2018 Internet Governance Forum

October 23, 2018

After School and ConnectSafely were selected by the United Nations to lead a panel at the upcoming 2018 Internet Governance Forum. They will be discussing technology’s impact on suicide and mental health. The panel will include policy leaders from Facebook and Tumblr, as well as experts working at the intersection of mental health and technology.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide. This equates to 16 people per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds. Among youths aged 15-29, suicide is the second leading cause of death around the world, and mental health disorders are linked to more than 90% of all cases of suicide. But is technology to blame?

The internet and social media are often portrayed as being addictive, harmful to mental health, and related to the rise in suicides globally, especially among young people. But what is the truth? Is technology a contributing factor to a rise in youth suicides? Can technology prevent suicide? Does technology provide any value when it comes to improving the mental health of teens?

Participants will include After School’s Jeff Collins, ConnectSafely’s Larry Magid, Facebook’s Global Safety Programs Manager Karuna Nain, Tumblr Head of Policy Victoria McCullough, and others. The IGF panel, titled Technology, Suicide, and the Mental Health of Youth, will explore these and other questions. The session will include interactive questions and scenarios along with research and anecdotes from the presenters.

“We are excited to participate in the upcoming IGF Meeting to share what we have learned and observed on this important topic,” said After School Vice President Jeff Collins. “Suicide is a topic we care about deeply, and we are constantly looking to find additional ways to support youth when they need help the most.” After School partners with Crisis Text Line to help teens in need chat with trained Crisis Counselors. Tens of thousands of After School users have used this service to date.

The event, titled “Internet of Trust,” will be the 13th annual IGF Meeting and is being hosted by the Government of France at UNESCO headquarters in France November 12-14. Learn more about this year’s meeting and scheduled sessions here on intgovforum.org.

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