Award-winning poet, filmmaker and speaker, Max Stossel strongly contends “technology is amazing.”
But he equally believes social media has deceptively overstepped its bounds, is intentionally addictive and negatively impacting the mental health, self-worth, social lives, productivity, communication and focusing skills of young people.
In two compelling assembly presentations - “We’ve Been Sneaking Into Your Brains” at Newark High School and Newark Middle School November 8th with students and at an evening program “Social Media and Your Kids” geared to parents -Stossel, who lives in Los Angeles, engagingly, but unapologetically shared his concerns in ways appropriate to his audiences.
During his two talks with NHS and NMS students, he detailed, the specific ways technology and social media are designed to be addictive & distracting and suggested some ways to use them more wisely.
Likewise, in his evening presentation to parents and educators in the NHS auditorium, he gave an overview of how students are being negatively impacted by social media and suggested some ways parents can help -including and most importantly- setting an example by not overusing social media themselves to the exclusion of quality time spent with their children.
The presentations concluded withs brief question and answer sessions.
Stossel’s bold assertions are backed by his experiences in the tech world.
Before working with CHT and founding Social Awakening, his “Social Awakening” website explains he was “a media strategist, running social media for multinational brands, and later working for a social media company where he designed some of the notification structures to distract people that he now raises awareness about.
“He has spent the past six years speaking with 100,000+ students, parents, and educators around the world about social media’s impact on our lives, and creating resources to help manage that impact. Max provides a unique and much-needed perspective on the role of technology in our homes, schools, and in our society.”
After the morning assembly at NHS Nov. 8th, Stossel lunched and talked with a small group of Newark High School 10th and 12 graders who’ve been trained in Restorative Practices through Partners In Restorative Initiatives (PiRi).
When asked what is most troubling to them about social media, their answers included:
“The weirdos that follow you on Snapchat”
“Instagram affects my mental health the most”
“The comparisons - what I don’t have, what I do have, what I can’t get.”
When asked what they felt could be done at NHS to help, answers included:
“Continue to talk about it”
“Share more positive apps with our community”
“Continue to make school fun so we won’t want to be on our phones as much”
“Kids need to be taught how to use social media safely”
Stossel also met with a small group of administrators and counselors after the NMS session.
The students said that they want the conversation to continue in Newark High School and more lessons should be taught around the social media affects and possible addiction.
Learn more about Stossel here:https://www.socialawakening.org/
In May, former Boston Celtics basketball player Chris Herren will make presentations to NHS and NMS students about substance abuse.