Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? | Bailey Parnell | TEDxRyersonU

Scrolling through our social media feeds feels like a harmless part of our daily lives. But is it actually as harmless at seems? According to social media expert Bailey Parnell, our growing and unchecked obsession with social media has unintended long term consequences on our mental health. As social media continues to become part of the fabric of modern life – the “digital layer” – abstinence is becoming less of an option. Bailey think it’s high time we learned to practice safe social before it’s too late. What are the common triggers? How are they affecting you over time? How can you create a more positive experience online? Bailey covers this and more in “Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health?”

Bailey Parnell was recently named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. She is an award-winning digital marketer, public speaker and businesswoman with a talent for helping people tell better stories. Her work and expertise have been featured on CBC, CTV & in other local Toronto media. Bailey recently founded SkillsCamp, a soft skills training company where they help people develop the essential skills needed for professional success. She also currently works in digital marketing at Ryerson University.

Bailey is a frequent public speaker having spoken to more than 10 thousand people. She primarily speaks about social media, personal branding, and media and mental health. She guest lectured her first MBA class at 21-years-old and has been the youngest speaker as multiple academic conferences. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Communication and Culture with a research focus on social media and mental health, and holds an honours BA from the RTA School of Media at Ryerson.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx



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  1. I avoid social media all my life. I do have accounts but i don’t constantly posts or share everything. i unfollow and block everyone that makes me feel insecure and negative. and now i’m getting better. I feel less insecure and I love myself more now. I only have one problem now. i always watch youtube all the time to the point that i don’t have time for myself lol

  2. I mean of course she wouldn't tell you to get off. Listen again she said 1 minute into it that it was.
    Her Job
    Her Career
    Shes worked with ADVERTISING FIRMS!

    so no SHE NEEDS you to stay on

  3. Look at all these easily triggered snowflakes, left and right, especially ones in power like the "president of the US", and tell me that it's not a constant cringe fest. Social media might not directly harm us, but it gives a voice to people who probably should better shut up. I'm probably among those.

  4. i recently went through a bad experience, and then it caused me to purge my social medias. from this talk, i do now know i'm never getting Instagram again. Or Snapchat.

  5. I don't agree with her last point. Social media isn't like a Samsung TV, precisely because our content is the product, and it's interactive. A more appropriate analogy is more like, of course we wouldn't blame our computer hardware for our social media. But there is a problem within the social media platform itself. Time and time again, the format itself has shown to decrease happiness over time.

  6. I deleted my social platforms on my phone just recently because of fake friends and I’ve never felt better about my life & taking back my freedom! and also because i felt depression over me

  7. Some noteworthy findings. It will be interesting to see where social media research takes us in 10-20 years. I'm quite thankful I didn't have Facebook in secondary school or college. It was brand new my freshman year of college, and I'm never the first to jump at trends. I needed to socialize in real life first. Thirteen years of home school had provided all the academic knowledge I needed, but I was way behind in people skills. Now that I have social media, I worry that it's hampering my still-developing people skills, to an extent. I don't post much. Commenting on someone else's post and seeing a large number of likes is the best, because then I know I've struck a chord. It's hard for me to strike a chord that resonates with people I've never met before. Doing so in a small way, with Facebook comments, gives me hope that I might someday create a longer story that resonates with many people. One can only dream, I suppose.

  8. My biggest issue with social media is that it's making me lose all my faith in humanity. When I go on social media I quickly get the impression that humanity is starved for intelligence and rational and logical thought. I end up reading the crazy commentaries and the rebuttals when I could better spend my time on relevant work.

  9. Thank you Bailey for such a powerful and mindful message, which finally made me decide about 21 days of social media detox to understand who I am and to reevaluate my current situation.

  10. Beautiful talk! I loved the part where she said you don't have to follow your friends. That is true, some of my friends are too different on social media compared to real life.

  11. Social media really put me in this negative mindset. Every scroll, I would always compare myself to other girls, and my best friends. It’s exhausting honestly. I took 2 months off from social media and I’ve never felt better.

  12. "Abstinence is not an option…" NONSENSE. Abstinence is an option. And that's an irresponsible message to be sending out, especially to people whose mental health is being compromised by social media use. If something is damaging your life, STOP DOING IT. You'll live. And you may start to actually "live."

  13. I don't agree on the part that "social media is neither good nor bad" or that any of the issues described have anything to do with social media itself. The platforms are purposely designed to keep us hooked. If we're hooked, we share more information about ourselves and that info is the source of profit for these social media companies.

  14. Social Media for the most part is only any use to self absorbed, popular type people for the most part like anything it has good points but the way it is used by most people it has more cons than pros imo

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