Press Enter to search.
Press ESC to close search.
Press Forward Slash '/' to focus search from anywhere.

Youth Well-Being in a Digital World

August 12, 2021

During Mental Health Month, the Global Alliance co-sponsored Youth Well-Being in a Digital World: The Roles of Schools and Communities along with:

This #GADocsTalks virtual event included a film screening of “The Mind Inside: Episode 2,” part of an I Love Public Schools docuseries focusing on mental health in public schools. Filmed at a public school in Nebraska, the 30-minute film highlights how social media and technology can have serious consequences for school communities by following the story of Reid Adler, a former student and victim of cyberbullying. The documentary integrates the perspectives of teachers, students, parents, and mental health experts in its exploration of how youth mental health is impacted by online interactions.

The screening was followed by an interdisciplinary panel discussion featuring a range of professional and experiential perspectives. Panelists included:

  • Sharon Hoover, PhD, clinical psychologist (moderator)
  • Cammie Weland, MA, educator and mental health advocate teaching at the school featured in the film
  • Konner Keisel, current college student and former high schooler who appeared in the film
  • Caitlin Elsaesser, PhD, assistant professor of social work
  • Brianna Maher, MPH, suicide prevention researcher

In discussing the most prominent needs related to youth technology use and mental health, panelists emphasized:

  • Taking youth’s mental health seriously
  • Understanding and validating emotional distress resulting from social media and online peer interactions
  • Supporting socioemotional education around how to help when a student is struggling

Panelists also shared their perspectives on how to create safe environments where youth can be open about technology and social media experiences, including:

  • The presence of trusted adults
  • Making space in the curriculum to teach students how to become better online citizens
  • Opportunities to openly discuss students’ online experiences in school settings 

Furthermore, panelists discussed how school communities can integrate technology in learning rather than opposing it:

“Integrating technology, integrating social media use into a classroom teaches students how to use it in a better way, and it is when we have integration as well as knowledge that it’s not going anywhere, and when schools stop fighting and start accepting that it is a thing in students’ lives, that is when real change happens and that’s when students can start to learn what it means to be a good citizen online.”  

Konner Keisel

If you are interested in learning more about how schools and communities can provide support to youth in a digital age you can watch The Mind Inside: Episode 2 on I Love Public Schools’ website and access a video recording of the panel discussion on our YouTube channel.

Back to Top