One summer, 15-year-old Emma Lembke heard her phone buzz and immediately lept to check it. But for the first time ever, she stopped before grabbing it and thought about her reaction. In that fleeting moment, she had a deep realisation about the impact of technology on her life.
“I began researching — hoping to find a suitable explanation for my connection to devices and apps,” Emma wrote in an account of her experience. “One question led to hundreds more. I found myself engrossed in articles detailing the harm social media had been doing to my mental health all along.”
The more she learned, the more she became concerned about the impact this must be having on others as well as herself.
“I knew something had to be done to provide a platform for other teenagers to have their millisecond of clarity and escape the corrosive cycle of social media addiction,” she said.
This is how Log Off was born, a movement led by young people to challenge the impact of social media on people’s mental health and promote a more positive digital world.
It immediately took off and has since grown to span 18 different countries with campaigns led by 70 youth activists alongside Emma.
She explained: “I realised very quickly I was not the only one intrigued by social media and technology’s impact on teens.”
Emma’s fellow campaigners at Log Off include Celine Bernhardt-Lanier, a Franco American living in Barcelona, who explained: “I’d always wondered, why did the people I’ve known for years now suddenly find the video about the talking dog more interesting than the basketball game we were watching?”
In contrast, Log Off’s Director of Education, Saanvi Sundaram in India, had discovered more positive uses for social media. She said: “I launched a wellbeing initiative to help teens connect better with others, their true selves, and nature.”
Working for Log Off, Saanvi empowers other young people to find the best uses of technology, in order to connect with others rather than isolate themselves.
She explained: “By shifting our tech habits to align with our values and true humanity, we can shape our digital world for the better, and help others to do the same.”
Get involved in Log Off at logoffmovement.org.