Emma Lembke, 19, has seen how social media can take a toll on teen mental health. So she started the Log Off Movement, which aims to spur dialogue and encourage young people to change their relationship with their devices.
Q: What was social media like for you?
A: I was spending at least six hours a day on these apps, mindlessly scrolling, absorbing all of these unrealistic body standards. That down the line resulted in disordered eating.
Q: How does the Log Off Movement help?
A: What we are asking for teens to do is to be comfortable talking about their experiences so that we can educate legislators to understand a Gen Z perspective, what we need from technology, what privacy and mental health concerns we’re having.
Q: What does healthy engagement with social media look like?
A: Healthy use of social media would be any interaction where the user feels as if they are benefiting and that their health is not being harmed. It’s mentally logging off and reflecting upon what makes you happiest and why you’re on social media.
Q: What’s your goal?
A: I really just hope that it results in a kind of pivot, prioritizing the well-being of users in these online environments.
(This interview was edited and condensed for length and clarity.)