If you had 5 minutes to talk to someone from the tech industry, what would be your suggestion to make your digital life better for your mental health? 

Key recommendations from the Youth Advisory Panel include: 

  • Platform Design for Well-Being: Suggestions for designing platforms that prioritize user well-being, with features such as encouraging breaks, mindfulness, and meaningful social interactions. 
  • Transparency and User Control: Calls for greater transparency in algorithms and user data handling, and empowering users with more control over their digital experiences. 
  • Algorithm Modification for Positivity and Safety: Recommendations to modify algorithms to promote positivity, prioritize well-being, and reduce exposure to harmful content. 
  • Enhanced Safety Features and Content Moderation: Suggestions for implementing tools for content moderation, improving safety features, and making it easier to report and block harmful content or users. 
  • Education and Awareness: Advocacy for educating users, especially teenagers, on healthy social media habits and providing resources and positive messages within platforms.  

Their full quotes are listed below.  

Youth Advisory Panel Feedback to the Tech Industry

Ryan L.

Youth Advisory Panel

"I would talk to the tech companies about how to change feeds and content to always promote positivity on platforms so that the apps are more welcoming. I would also advocate for more accessible experience; especially since I can't use all of TikTok as well as parts of Instagram or Snapchat with a screen reader. This is non-YAP related, but something that would also be more inclusive to the blind community."

Ronit C.

Youth Advisory Panel

"I would encourage the design of platforms that prioritize user well-being, including features that encourage breaks, mindfulness, and meaningful social interactions over passive scrolling and negative comparison. An alert that comes up when it is getting close to the user's bedtime could also be useful to minimize exposure to harmful blue light."

Taanvi A.

Youth Advisory Panel

"Prioritize Mental Wellbeing: Suggest features that encourage mindfulness, such as built-in breathing exercises or meditation prompts. Curate a Positive Feed: Advocate for algorithms that promote positive content and limit exposure to negativity or social comparison. Support Young People: Encourage the tech industry to actively support projects that benefit youth mental health, either by creating educational tools or partnering with mental health organizations."

Bansi B.

Youth Advisory Panel

"My main suggestion would be to give people a greater chance to modify the content they are seeing. I believe one of the greatest issues with short-form recommended videos is that there is no method of filtration of content. Oftentimes, you get recommended triggering or hateful content. I would encourage people from the tech industry to focus their algorithms on how to prevent young audiences from seeing content that may be harmful. There could be a few ways to do this, firstly there could be a setting for younger children that allows them to see only filtered content. There also needs to be easier ways to report and block people as I know some applications such as TikTok have made it much harder to report certain accounts. Lastly, when videos or accounts are reported, there needs to be better verification methods in place that can get harmful content taken down or age-restricted faster and easier."

Justin K.

Youth Advisory Panel

"If I had 5 minutes to talk to someone from the tech industry, I would suggest adding in screen time alerts. For example, TikTok has a feature where if you are on the app for too long, it will give you an alert to take a break. I would suggest that this feature be added to other tech platforms to keep teens on social media accountable. Features like this to help teens manage their time and mental health on social media will help negate the negatives."

Vakayla D.

Youth Advisory Panel

"I would suggest to them to actually take action about reported content. People get reported, and posts get taken down just for another account to come up, or for them to repost the video. I haven’t had much trouble with this, but I’ve had friends who couldn’t escape online bullying because bullies kept making new accounts. I’m not sure if this is really fixable, however. I feel like it’s more likely on some platforms for my content to be removed for being in a bathing suit, while someone who posted a harmful slur stays up."

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American Academy of Pediatrics