We’re Using Social Media to #DoGood

We all know that social media can sometimes be a time waster and self-esteem crusher. These teens are proving it doesn’t have to be all bad.

via TikTok (Social Media Posts); Shutterstock.com (Letters)

Griffin Bohmfalk (left) teaches you about your finances. Taylor Cassidy (center) helps you learn all about Black history. Emma Lembke (right) shows you secrets of healthy scrolling.

Picture a typical social media feed. 

Chances are you’re imagining friends’ selfies, influencers showcasing their #ootd, and puppies—so many puppies. For many of us, social media is a place to take a break from reality by scrolling through funny or cute posts. 

But the teens on these pages believe social media can have a higher purpose. They see their favorite platforms as a way to share information and ideas to inspire or help others. 

It makes sense that teens are using social media as a virtual megaphone, says Evan Fredrick. He’s a social worker. “If you’re passionate about something and you want an audience, social media is everything,” he says. 

Read on to learn how some teens are using your favorite platforms to help others. They may inspire you to #DoGood too!

Courtesy of Tickets 2 The Future; WES FRAZER/The New York Times/Redux

From left, Joaquin Jones, Ben Jacobs, Griffin Bohmfalk, and Ethan Jacobs plan a video.

“We’re helping teens like us prepare for their financial futures.” 

– Founders, Tickets 2 The Future (@ticketstothefuture on TikTok)

“The four of us have been good friends since middle school. We like to talk about normal teen stuff like sports, music, and video games. But we also spend a lot of time discussing a topic that’s often considered an adults-only conversation: financial literacy.

We want to change the perception of finance as being boring or relevant only to adults, because we believe understanding money can help all teens.

We got our start by running finance and investing clubs at our schools, but we wanted to spread the knowledge to a broader audience. 

So in the spring of 2022, we created Tickets 2 the Future to help teach financial literacy. One way our organization does that is through TikTok explainer videos. Our videos cover everything from what to do with your first paycheck to how interest works.

Let’s be honest: Finance isn’t the most interesting thing on social media. We have to compete with everyone else and create videos that hook people in the first three seconds. We’re learning what resonates and having fun tweaking our content. 

Social media can get a bad rap—and we’ve dealt with our fair share of internet trolls—but we couldn’t do this without TikTok.”

WES FRAZER/The New York Times/Redux (Emma Lembke)

Emma Lembke makes sure to take breaks from scrolling to enjoy the real world.

“I use social media to help teens get off social media.”

– Emma Lembke, Founder, Log Off, @logoff_movement on Instagram

“I haven’t always had a healthy relationship with social media. When I got my first Instagram account in sixth grade, I was initially enthralled. I loved that I could express myself through my posts and connect with friends. But after a month or two, my mental health started to take a hit. Images of unattainable body and beauty standards left me with anxiety and an eating disorder. I also found myself scrolling mindlessly, spending as much as six hours a day on social media. 

I learned how addictive social media can be and the negative effects it can have on kids’ mental health—but I couldn’t find a space to talk to other teens about the issue. So I decided to create my organization, Log Off, to fill that void.

Log Off is not against social media. Instead, it’s a youth movement by teens and for teens that promotes finding healthy ways to exist on social media. And yes, we use social media to help spread our message. We’ve heard from many teens who’ve benefited from Log Off’s conversations and tools. With our Digital Detox Challenge, for example, kids can cut their screen time in half.

I’ve changed my social media habits too. For example, I use apps like Screentime Genie to limit my time online. When I do log on, I’ll take a moment to reflect on how each post makes me feel before I keep scrolling. I do the same when creating content for Log Off. Instead of worrying about how many followers we have I focus on the fun, creative aspects of making social media, such as putting out a new video I feel proud of. And when I’m done, I unplug and enjoy the real world.”

Essence Ransome

Taylor Cassidy does a lot of research before getting into character as a famous Black figure from history.

“I use TikTok to teach my peers about Black history.’’

– Taylor Cassidy, Digital Creator, @taylorcassidyJ on TikTok

via TikTok

“I grew up learning about Black history from my parents, which inspired me to do my own research about my roots. I noticed that many of the kids in my class didn’t know much about Black history. I decided to combine my love of creating videos and content with my passion for educating others. 

I started posting Fast Black History videos to TikTok during my junior year of high school. Each video tells the story of a historical Black figure. I use makeup and props to transform myself into the personality. Accuracy is extremely important to me, so I thoroughly research each person. I also always make sure I go back to double fact-check all my content.

My first 15-second video was about Percy Julian, a pioneering Black chemist. Since then, I’ve created videos about Dorothy Dandridge, the first Black movie star to get an Academy Award nomination for best actress; Lorraine Hansberry, the first Black female playwright to have a play performed on Broadway; and many other important figures. 

I post these videos to give people a reason to smile as they scroll through their feed, but I also want them to learn about something new in a fun way. These videos shouldn’t feel like a boring lecture! 

I realized I’d accomplished my goal of being both entertaining and educational when teachers told me they use my videos in class. I’m thrilled that my content has helped more students learn about this important part of our history!”

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