Teens, educators, and mental health experts all have a vested interest in understanding the changing world of social media.
Based on interviews with students, teachers, and medical experts, the second episode of this I Love Public Schools Films series uncovers how the ever-changing social media landscape affects what happens in the classroom and the lasting impact on students’ mental health.
With remarkable candor, Episode Two illustrates the nuances of the digital and real worlds of today’s student, where the development of the adolescent brain and vulnerabilities of growing up are compounded by daily, persistent online interactions.
The 30-minute film includes the story of Reid Adler, a victim of cyberbullying and the inspiration behind the metro-area schools #BeKind initiative. The piece weaves together Reid’s story, told by staff members at Ralston High School, and blends student voices that describe the realities of today’s school experience, complicated by social media.
With research indicating a clear relationship between the amount of time spent on social media and an inclination to feel depressed and anxious, the conversation about social media becomes deeply connected with mental health. Throughout the film, real students reveal the ways this impacts their daily lives. From peer pressure to sexting, picture-perfect selfies and online memes, expressing the difficult feelings and behaviors often associated with adolescence conflicts with the happy, image-focused Internet identity amassed in youth culture today.
Informative and heartbreaking, this episode provides a framework for discussion around empowering a balance of appropriate media use and keeping students in a safe, productive, and positive environment online and in the real world.
More shorts and episodes in The Mind Inside series will be released throughout 2020. Watch Episode One and learn more about the series.
Meet the Cast
Episode Two features middle and high school students from Omaha Central, Wilber-Clatonia and Millard North Middle School.
The cast members from Ralston Public Schools include Dr. Mark Adler, Superintendent; Stacy Athow, head of counseling; Beth McGrath, English teacher; and Cammie Weland and Jason Jackson both social studies teachers.
Anytime you’re dealing with a population of people, and certainly teenagers, you’re dealing with all sorts of levels of mental health, qualities of mental health. We have an insight into kids’ mental health status and it’s changed a lot, what children share, what they experience, and the challenges as a teacher has changed a lot because of [social media].”
— Beth McGrath, Ralston High School English teacher
More about The Mind Inside Series
In the multi-episode docuseries, audiences will learn about mental health in public schools, the challenges students face, the social, emotional, and behavioral resources available for students who struggle, and the short- and long-term solutions communities provide.
The goal of the series is to create awareness around mental health and to encourage understanding, empathy, and support for students. Watch Episode One and learn more about the series.