#SafeSocial’s mission is to help people gain the benefits of social media use with less risk. We want people to be mentally well before, during, and after social media use.
#SafeSocial will be a recognized global resource for people looking to use social media safely and healthily as well as for those looking to educate others on how to do so. Because of us, people will understand how to enjoy this risky behaviour of social media without harming themselves.
HOW WE GOT STARTED
#SafeSocial was created by Bailey Parnell, really beginning in 2015 when she worked in Student Affairs at Ryerson University. At this time, scandalous news articles were coming out saying “social media might cause depression in youth”. At the same time, Bailey was working as a social media specialist, and asking youth to come be on social media with her. This sparked her journey looking into social media’s impact on mental health, which became all-out professional digital well-being research and campaigns within the university.
In her words, “if she was going to be doing this research anyways, she may as well get a degree from it.” Continuing her work in the space, Bailey then started her part-time Masters research in 2016 looking into social media and mental health in the Communications and Culture program at Ryerson University.
In 2017, Bailey was asked to give a TEDx talk on all she had learned and created, both professionally and academically, on #SafeSocial. The TEDx Talk, titled “Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health?”, now has nearly 2 million views and is growing rapidly every day. The TEDx talk and related news events sparked a worldwide interest in Bailey’s work.
After the TEDx talk, Bailey developed our signature 5 Steps Towards #SafeSocial™ and has been all over the world sharing her research and strategies with youth, parents, educators, and others, including being invited to the World Youth Forum in Egypt. It is through these engagements that Bailey heard from people and saw the global need for this organization to exist – a one-stop-shop for all information on #SafeSocial.