The Good Talk, APL GirlUp, CPB Prism 

Research has found that teenagers spend more time on social media than they do reading books, newspapers, and magazines. In the age of heightened screen times and constant posting on social media, CPB Prism had a conversation with Ezhil Meena from The Good Talk and the team from APL GirlUp about the pressures of social media on teenagers. 

The webinar started off with Ezhil talking about how connections are the essence of human life, but the pressures that accompany this need to connect can be difficult to balance. Social media leads to various psychological and physiological side effects, such as FOMO (the dreaded fear of missing out) and the inevitable energy drain. 

The teenagers from GirlUp also provided useful insight into their lived experiences. Vidula and Aadhirai emphasized how social media leads to feelings of insecurity and unnecessary comparisons, even when they’re aware that the picture-perfect reality of social media doesn’t always translate to what it is in real life. 

Abarajetha is one of the handful of teenagers who do not use social media; she reiterates that social media can be used to serve some purpose, but often leads to teenagers disconnecting from their loved ones and missing out on meaningful conversations and experiences. 

The session was highly interactive with various polls and questions from the audience, with concerned parents raising questions about regulation of social media use for their children. Others asked about the long term effects of the insecurity caused by social media’s perfect facade. 

One of the polls asked the listeners about their average social media use in a day, most of them spent only 1-2 hours a day!

Ezhil, a research scholar from Pondicherry University, explained how our self can be perceived as a whole, and overuse of social media slowly chips away parts of this whole, leaving behind insecurities and low self-esteem. 

Although the negative aspect of social media was thoroughly discussed, the panel also talked about the positive side of social media. Ezhil runs The Good Talk, an initiative to create a safe space for people to share stories and interact with one another, and APL GirlUP uses social media to spread awareness and bring about change. The speakers emphasized the growing need for various platforms, for voicing their opinions, spreading information, and uniting people from different parts of the globe. 

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