Palms and Playa Vista TLC: Social Media, Mental Health, and Body Image

Guest Blogger,
comic image of teen looking into a mirror and smiling

The Palms and Playa Vista teens have decided to focus on social media’s effects on mental health and body image for their Teens Leading Change project. The Palms Library teens did a TLC project back in 2021 about student mental health in general due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on ourselves, friends, and classmates. We wanted to dive further into the topic of mental health in students and focus primarily on social media’s involvement in the teen mental health crisis. We have done a lot of research and had discussions about how filters, photo retouching apps, targeted ads, and influencer culture has led to many thinking they need to have a picture-perfect lifestyle. When individuals feel like they cannot achieve this life, either in their physical appearance or otherwise, it can lead to depression and other mental health issues. In reality, the portrayal of life on Instagram and other social media apps may look perfect but is far from it. We have questioned the role of tech companies in addressing and combatting this mental health crisis. While social media can definitely negatively affect mental health, there are also positive qualities to social media, like finding a community, including the Body Positivity and Fat Positivity movements.

Our goal for our project is to inform other students about how social media can affect your mental health and how to be conscious of your social media use. We plan to make a series of videos about different issues like body dysmorphia, influencer culture, cyberbullying, and how to keep your social media habits healthy. Stay tuned!

—Written by Palms and Playa Vista Teen Council Members

—Emily Meehan, Young Adult Librarian, Palms-Rancho Park Branch

The Teens Leading Change initiative has funded and launched 39 projects across 50 branches, including 4 projects across 7 branches that are happening now!