‘How to step away:’ Local teen engaging peers, parents on healthy social media use

High-school student joins national nonprofit to Log Off social media

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - A local high-school student is bringing an international effort to the Tri-State aimed at encouraging teens to better understand the impact of social media on mental health.

The global nonprofit LogOff Movement is concerned about everything from cyberbullying to shaming to the everyday impacts of social media on mental health. The goal is to promote healthy ways for kids and teens to exist on social media, including TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram.

Sarah Abudakar is a senior at Lakota West High School. She’s currently at work to bring a chapter of the nonprofit to Greater Cincinnati, hoping to engage her peers and parents in impactful conversations about the topic.

“Obviously social media isn’t going away,” Sarah said. “We just need to learn how to use it and adapt to this new thinking, these new apps, and how we can mentally step away from it.”

Sarah is asking her peers to stop and think about how social media impacts them.

“We are not trying to log off and become, like, totally separated,” she explained, “but to build a relationship with the way we view our social media. Unfollow those people that make us feel bad and follow people that make us feel good.”

Part of the undertaking is the creation of a curriculum for schools.

Sarah’s mother, Kristen Abudakar, understands the issue as an administrator at Butler Tech.

“It’s a huge problem,” Kristen said. “You know, I think the statistics speak for themselves as far as mental health, the constant, every day being connected.”

According to LogOff, those aged 16-24 spend an average of 180 minutes on social media daily, and 45 percent of teens feel stress as a result of social media content.

Kristen says the 24-7 connectivity of social media presents her daughter’s generation with a unique challenge.

“It means so much more coming from students,” she said of her daughter’s efforts. “They listen to each other much more than they ever listen to us adults.”

Sarah agrees the message means more coming from someone in the same age group with the same experiences.

“Luckily, me as a teenager, not as a parent or somebody from another generation talking about this issue, they were able to then realize, ‘Oh, this is a problem,’ and that we have to take our phones away to actually get some interaction,” she said.

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