Confidence and Self-Esteem

I always viewed confidence as a quality I strived to attain, yet I also viewed it as a quality that would be hard to maintain. My self-esteem can be so up and down sometimes. I’ll have one day where I feel like I can take on the world, and the next day I’ll just feel so down and doubtful about my capabilities. It is like a game of tug of war happening daily in my mind. 

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One Year Ago, Today

I woke up last week checking Snapchat with the Memories notification. “Memories last year” caught my interest. It was a video of my friends dying my hair purple. The bittersweet feeling of small anniversaries, either from happy experiences or a traumatic event, has moved me along my path of growth. Often, out of nostalgia, I’ll try to find something throughout the day that reminds me of that moment or listen to a playlist from that time. Our memories make us who we are, and when the one-year mark comes, we’ll notice the ways we’ve grown.

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Highlighting Mental Health in Schools

As 1 in 3 high school students expressed feelings of hopelessness, which was proven by a 2019 study by the Centers of Disease Control of Prevention (CDC), the educational system and schools begin to take on the responsibility of their students’ mental health, which they continuously struggle to do effectively. As mental health is largely regarded as taboo by older generations (and in turn, our educators), critical discussions that must be had with students never happen, leaving them with little help or resources from their schools. As we work to destigmatize the idea that mental health is a taboo subject, the topic must be explored with those who are struggling the most — students.

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Acne and Mental Health

I have dealt with acne for about 7 years. It first began when I entered grade 8. That in itself was difficult for me since I was entering high school for the first time. A new beginning was starting it off with a new insecurity. My acne progressively got worse as time went on and so did my self esteem. My acne was something that I always assumed would eventually go away, especially since everyone would tell me that it would only last through my early teen years. By grade 12, it did actually end up going away, but things spiraled down for me once quarantine started. Now, I am almost 19 in my second year of university and it feels like my acne is worse than ever before. 

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Mental Health and the Urban Environment

There was a part of mental health that I never realized is another factor that contributes to human and animal mental health. Emotional support systems, behavior, incidents, living situations, and genetics play significant roles in our brain function. With awareness of the discussion on climate change and pollution, our mental health is affected by environmental statuses, just as much as our situations are.

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Returning To School In Person

Usually, the back to school period is either viewed as an exciting time or a dreadful time. This year, we are still facing a pandemic which has changed our lifestyles drastically. This current going-back-to-school period is going to be a whole lot different. 

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“Who Do You Want To Be in the Future?”

“Who do you want to be in the future?” asked everyone who, I think, cares about my future. Even as a child, I never had any plan for who I wanted to be when I grew up. I was too frightened of blood to become a doctor, I was not assertive enough to become a lawyer, and I knew I would have the extreme urge to step out of the spaceship door if I was an astronaut. The tenseness in my body develops as they wait for a response. My friends have already planned this out. Why haven’t I? There are endless options for majors and careers — how will I know what I sincerely want to do? 

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Magnify Monday 37

There are common misconceptions that all comedians are damaged individuals who perform comedy to keep their inner demons at bay — but that doesn’t mean that comedians don’t struggle. While there are many healthy individuals who write comedy, there are the same number who use mental health as fuel for their voice.

While all comedians have different motivations, depression and social anxiety are conditions that many great comedians continue to have in common.

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The Social Dilemma Review

by Melissa Liu 

    When I created my social media accounts in middle school, I became one of 854.5 million accounts on Instagram, one of 249 million Snapchat users and one of 2.7 billion accounts on Facebook. Social media became an easy outlet to connect with friends and display important moments of my life. I would rely on social media to keep myself updated with friends’ and celebrities’ lives, entering the bubble of late night scrolling before sleep and unknowingly accumulating my daily screen time. 

     Many teenagers face the same problems and have become more reliant on social media. With the rise of technology use, younger generations are beginning to develop unhealthy relationships with technology: this is a social dilemma. 

Currently, 84 percent of all teenagers have a cell phone. In a 2020 survey, the Stata corporation, a modern leader in data analysis and statistical software for research, found that Snapchat was the most popular social media app among teens, and roughly three billion “snaps,” pictures or videos, were sent daily. 

Netflix’s original documentary “The Social Dilemma” highlights the algorithms of social media and underlying motives tailored towards users on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. The documentary, published in Jan., 2020, includes interviews with famous web developers who share covert information about the logistics involved in creating social media apps and the addictive nature of these apps. 

At first, social media seems beneficial, automatically linking people with old friends and sharing important memories. However, social media can become harmful once it exploits its users. As explained in the documentary, social media acts as a mass surveillance service, monitoring users online and trying to profit off of them. 

An interview with Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist for Google from the “Social Dilemma” documentary, said, “If you are not paying for the product, you are the product.” In other words, on social media, there are advertisers who compete to grab users’ attention in an attempt to sway them to purchase an item, or change their viewpoints. 

The digital footprints that people leave are closely tracked through microphones in phones and computers, and can be used to the seller’s advantage. Junior Rebecca Han said, “One time I talked about getting a dog with my family. So, I searched up pictures of dogs that were cute. The very next day I saw dog adoption advertisements all over my Instagram.” 

Professor Shoshano Zuboff, author of the book The Age of Surveillance, explained this phenomenon in the film.  He described social media as a marketplace that was specifically trading human attention and money. 

      When told about social media’s algorithm in attempting to maintain the user’s attention, Han said, “I was unaware of all the hidden impacts of social media. I’ll have to be more alert from now on.” After working for the most successful and wealthy technological companies, many employees are astonished to hear the brutal truth behind their employers choices. Harris claims that people are unaware that Silicon Valley tech companies are competing against each other for people’s attention, a valuable prize in today’s day and age. In fact, Harris said, “Social media isn’t a tool that’s just waiting to be used. It has its own goals and it has its own means of pursuing them by using your psychology against you.” 

According to the Washington Post, teens spend an average of seven hours and twenty-two minutes every day on their phones, not including homework time. 

Senior Claire Yin said, “I’m on my phone for three hours every day and although I wish to reduce my screen time, at least my time is below the national average.” Similar to Claire, many South students have reported using their phones for longer durations during quarantine. 

South students need to recognize that there is so much more to life than just the feed of other people’s lives on a phone screen. Keeping up with social media can be an excellent outlet to connect with others, especially during the pandemic; however, social media use should be monitored. 

    Not only has social media become time-consuming, but social media has also been shown to deteriorate teenagers’ mental health. In the documentary, NYU professor Jonathan Haidt found an increase in depression and anxiety among pre-teens because of the constant comparisons they make between themselves and the people they see on their social media feed. 

     “I definitely have compared myself with others, but at the end of the day, I think it’s important to know that posts on social media are people’s best versions of themselves,” said senior Saru Daway.  “People just have to learn to have self-love and know their self-worth. It takes time to do that and it can be very harmful to kids who are still younger.” 

     Understanding that social media represents only a small facet of somebody’s life can reduce the negative effect of this social dilemma.  

     Although Yin has not watched “The Social Dilemma” yet, she is motivated to limit her screen time and use her social media time for other activities. 

     Despite the benefits of social media and connecting with friends online, knowing how to manage your digital use is beneficial not only to your physical health, but also your mental health. 

     “The Social Dilemma” is one of the most informative films of 2020, revealing the truth behind social media platforms that so many students use daily. Even in this virtual setting, we must remember to value our lives outside the screen.

Therapy, Its Importance, & The Stigma Behind It

As much as Magnify Wellness and this blog spread mental health awareness among many marginalized communities, the stigma that drags mental health in the dirt continues to spread, causing those who are immensely struggling to be reluctant to therapy and other mental health resources.

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