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Teaching Teens Social Media Mindfulness

Lesson Materials

Teacher Prep Video – Roseburg High School

 

After familiarizing yourself with current research on social media use among teens (see References and Articles below), watch this short video that documents students at Roseburg High School in Roseburg, Oregon as they explore the topic in their Effective Communicators class. You can choose to share the video with students to model and prompt classroom discussion.

 

 

We believe that engaging in frank, reflective conversations about setting social media boundaries can empower young people to think critically about their media consumption––and, hopefully, inspire their peers to do the same. Teachers interested in learning more about the Effective Communicators Educator Fellowship can find more information here.

 

Articles and Videos:

#1 Teens and Social Media Use: Whats the Impact – Mayo Clinic (Print)

#2 How Social Media Affects Teenagers: Child Mind Institute (Print and audio)

#3 The Impact of Social Media on Teenagers- WSLS News (Youtube Video)

#4 New Study Shows Negative Impacts of Social Media – WCVB-TV (YouTube)

#5 Teens and Their Experiences on Social Media – Pew Research (Print)

#6 Social Media Can Be Bad But There Are Ways It Can Help – The Conversation (Print)

#7 Study Finds Positive Impact of Social Media During Covid-19 – Californian (Print)

Download a pdf worksheet.

 

McKenzie’s Story

In this video, Mackenzie Hepburn, a University of Oregon undergraduate student, shares her personal journey and challenges with social media throughout middle and high school. The video also features expert and accessible commentary from Dr. Nichole Kelly, a University of Oregon researcher. Both women reflect on the role of social media on body image and self-esteem. Read Dr. Kelly’s article on teens and harmful narratives about weight.

 

 

Reflection Prompts

 

After watching the video, write down three or more sentences responding to the following questions. Your responses are just for you and are not intended to be shared with your teacher or peers.

 

How do Mackenzie’s experiences with social media and self-image compare to your own?

 

What do you notice about what, when, and why you post to social media? Are there any recurring themes in your posts?

 

What guidelines have you set for yourself about what you post?

 

What boundaries have you set for how you engage with others through social media?

 

What boundaries have you set for how others engage with you through social media?

 

What changes do you want to make in using social media?

 

What did you take away from watching and responding to this video?

 

Additional Published Writing Assignment

 

Read your choice of 2-3 articles or watch the videos listed below about teens, social media use, and self-image. Write a 600-800-word informative article or commentary about this topic based on what you’ve read.

 

While writing, respect your own and others’ privacy. Do not share personal anecdotes you would prefer not to be made public or private information that would identify and potentially embarrass peers.

 

Articles and Videos:

#1 Teens and Social Media Use: Whats the Impact – Mayo Clinic (Print)

#2 How Social Media Affects Teenagers: Child Mind Institute (Print and audio)

#3 The Impact of Social Media on Teenagers- WSLS News (Youtube Video)

#4 New Study Shows Negative Impacts of Social Media – WCVB-TV (YouTube)

#5 Teens and Their Experiences on Social Media – Pew Research (Print)

#6 Social Media Can Be Bad But There Are Ways It Can Help – The Conversation (Print)

#7 Study FInds Positive Impact of Social Media During Covid-19 – Californian (Print)

Download a PDF of this page.

 

Youth-Oriented Mental Health Websites

 

  • Center for Young Women’s Health and Young Men’s Health: These websites provide a series of guides on emotional health, including on test anxiety, depression, bullying, and eating disorders. 
  • Go Ask Alice!: Geared at young adults, this question and answer website contains a large database of questions about a variety of concerns surrounding emotional health. 
  • Girls Health.Gov: This website offers guidance to teenage girls on recognizing a mental health problem, getting help, and talking to parents. 
  • Jed Foundation: Promoting emotional health and prevent suicide among college students, this website provides a plethora of online resources for students struggling with suicidal ideation and self-harm.
  • Kelty Mental Health Resource Center: Reference sheets are provided that list top websites, books, videos, toolkits and support for mental health disorders. 
  • Reach Out: This website provides information on specific mental health disorders, as well as resources to help teens make safe plans when feeling suicidal, and helpful tips on how to relax. 
  • Teens Health: Providing a safe place for teens who need honest and accurate information, this website provides resources on mental health issues. 
  • Teen Mental Health: Geared towards teenagers, this website provides learning tools on a variety of mental illnesses, videos, and resources for friends. 

 

 

Apps and Technology Services

  • Beacon 2.0: Beacon is a portal to online applications (websites, mobile applications and internet support groups) for mental disorders reviewed and rated by health experts. 
  • Health Talk: This website reflects the lived experience of mental health conditions, including research-based modules with hours of recording and analysis. 
  • Mindfulness for Teens: This website has resources to help teens use mindfulness to handle stress and includes apps to practice meditation and guided meditation recordings. 
  • Strength of Us: An online community designed to inspire young adults impacted by mental health issues to think positive, stay strong and achieve goals through peer support and resource sharing. 

Open Discussion

 

Engage your students in an upbeat discussion of what they will take away from this exploration of their own social media practices. As a general rule, please ask students not to share personal anecdotes they would prefer not to be made public or private information that would identify and potentially embarrass their peers.

 

Basic class discussion guidelines include: 

  1. Make it age appropriate 
  2. Establish general ground rules 
  3. Facilitate civil discussion
  4. Encourage open discussion 
  5. Temper high emotions
  6. Summarize and reflect 

 

The University of Michigan offers this Teacher’s Toolkit addressing classroom mental health. Additionally, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America offer these guidelines for facilitating discussions related to mental health. Finally, the US Department of Health and Human Services offers this comprehensive resource.

 

Take note of students who may need one-on-one support following the group discussion. Body language can indicate an unexpressed need.

Mental Health Resources for Teachers

 

Mental Health Resource Institutes

 

Mental Health Medication Guides

  • Head Meds: This website gives young people focused information about the most common medicines prescribed for mental health conditions. 
  • Making Healthy Choices: This guide provides information for youth in foster care related to making decisions about their mental health, treatment options, and the use of psychotropic medications. 

 

Helplines

About JLI

 

The Journalistic Learning Initiative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works in partnership with the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and the College of Education. JLI’s mission is to empower students to discover their voice, improve academic outcomes, and engage in self-directed learning through project-based storytelling. Since 2015, JLI has benefited more than 7,500 middle and high school students in Oregon and California. Teachers interested in learning more about the Effective Communicators Educator Fellowship can find more here.


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