On November 13, After School hosted a live Twitter chat on the topic of Technology, Suicide, and the Mental Health of Youth. The chat was held while After School’s Jeff Collins spoke at the Internet Governance Forum in Paris with internet safety experts and leaders from ConnectSafely, Tumblr, Facebook, and others.
Featured chat participants included social media companies and nonprofit organizations along with hundreds of Twitter users. The six questions asked were:
- How does technology impact the mental health of youth?
- Can technology aid in preventing suicide among youth?
- How can technology aid in preventing suicide among youth?
- What information do we still need in order to better help youth prevent harm to their mental health?
- How can the public, private, and nonprofit sectors minimize detrimental mental health occurrences from happening while using technology while maximizing benefits?
- Does technology and social media provide more benefits to youth than risks of damage to one’s mental health or leading them towards suicide?
During the one-hour chat, we learned several interesting things from participants. Two of the questions were in the form of a poll, and we received hundreds of responses to both.
Technology Can Aid in Preventing Teen Suicide According to Poll Takers
With over 950 responses, the majority of participants believe that technology can aid in preventing suicide. Only 11% felt that it can not aid in preventing youth suicide, and 17% stated that they “don’t know.”
Public Perception of Technology and Social Media’s Impact
The final question of the day asked participants if they believed that social media and technology provides more benefits to youth than risks of damage to their mental health. 51% of the 494 total votes answered “No” — an indication that many who pay attention to these issues believe technology companies can and should be doing more to understand and help minimize any potential harm technology may cause to mental health.