Written by: Garrett Waterman
The Technology and Adolescent Mental Wellness program (TAM) provides students with the opportunity to participate on a youth advisory board where they can be introduced to health research and receive professional development. Youth advisory boards (YAB) allow health researchers to connect and collaborate with adolescents on which aspects of social media affect them the most. To incorporate adolescents into research, their voices must have a platform. To kickstart this initiative I asked one of TAM’s newest YAB members, Shreya, about her experiences with youth advisory boards and her relationship with technology:
Q: What initially made you want to join a YAB?
“I was initially a part of the IDRA education non-profit organization. I felt that my voice was heard in influencing an education system which directly affects me and my peers”. “I saw TAM YAB as another opportunity to share my perspective – specifically about mental health”.
Q: What drew you to TAM YAB in particular?
“TAM YAB’s focus on mental health coincides with my interests in health outcomes associated with social media. I hope to learn more about the specific health outcomes affecting youth and their use of technology”
Q: Which aspects of social media/Technology affect you the most?
“I would say the addictive qualities of social media affect me the most. Snapchat and bereal market themselves as more ‘real’ than other social media platforms. People post about where they are and how they look at that moment. It isn’t as curated as something like instagram, but it still has the same addictive qualities that can lead to a reliance on technology. Technology can be a good thing too. I like to see what my friends and cousins are doing, and social media allows you to connect to those people in a totally different way”
Q: What, in your opinion, should youth’s role be in health research surrounding social media and adolescent health? Are there any aspects of social media that don’t receive enough attention ?
“I feel like researchers should highlight aspects of technology that aren’t immediately obvious. Like the impact that social media has had on beauty standards causes a lot of problems. There is a difference in lived experiences versus sensational videos and personalities”
Q: What do you think of the TAM YAB learning environment so far?
“Everyone was very talkative so that made the meeting engaging and welcoming. The interactive format of the meeting also made me feel more involved”
Click to learn more about TAM YAB.