Words by Smiley Team
Unless you’re following someone’s personal Twitter, social media is generally limited to absolute highlights.
The windows we have to peer into other people’s lives show some of the best moments, painting only the happiest parts instead of the whole picture. Unrealistic expectations about life and what it entails can come about as a result and people can start doubting their own lives.
As social media becomes an integral part of our life and fewer and fewer people can even remember a world without it our relationship with it has come under scrutiny and study. One nonprofit organization, #HalfTheStory, has come around to help educate young people about that relationship and unveil the other “half of the story.”
“We are building a future where kids learn to develop healthy relationships with technology,” #HalfTheStory said in a release sent to Smiley News.
The idea for #HalfTheStory came from the mind of founder Larissa May, better known as Larz. She already had a large internet presence, running a fashion blog, Livin Like Larz, but decided during her senior year at Vanderbilt University that she would try and have a larger impact, and founded #HalfTheStory.
“My sophomore year I struggled with anxiety and depression and social media was definitely a trigger for that because ... I was always looking at everyone else's trying to understand why were they so happy and why was I not,” May told ABC News.
#HalfTheStory’s primary demographic is Gen Z, primarily people aged 13-17. Basically aiming to provide a resource to people that have never known anything but social media.
“We are here to serve Gen-Zs who have been impacted by the role that social media plays in their life,” #HalfTheStory said to Smiley News. “Yet they live their lives behind a screen.”
They offer a “social media EDU” meant to inform younger people how to handle their relationship with social media and where to draw the line. The program is four weeks long and offers things such as digital wellness, tech and how it impacts the brain, digital advocacy, and policy and activism away from the screen.
Now May and #HalfTheStory are coming up on their third annual Global Day of Unplugging, an initiative “to take 24 hours to unite, reflect and connect.” 2021 was the largest Global Day of Unplugging so far with over 50 million people taking part according to #HalfTheStory, and they say that they’re expecting even more in 2022.
DONATE: You can pledge monetary support to #HalfTheStory on its website.
FIND OUT MORE: You can look into #HalfTheStory or the Global Day of Unplugging, you can find it here.