In the presence of Her Majesty Queen Máxima and Secretary of State Maarten van Ooijen, over 70 enthusiastic participants discussed and thought about the potential problems of social media and the opportunities it offers in promoting the mental health of young people. The session revealed that policy and education is too fragmented. Children, young people and their parents need to be taught more and learn better how to use and interact with social media. Two well-known Dutch Youtubers joined the session as guest speakers. They explained they try to reach young people by sharing their experiences with psychological problems in an open, humorous and light-hearted way. This provides a lot of recognition and helps young people to ask their questions more easily.
Solutions for contributing to mental health
In breakout sessions, participants explored the opportunities and pitfalls of social media. For example, they discussed the reliability of information, online bullying, lack of parental involvement and unrealistic images. Queen Máxima and State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen actively participated in these discussions. The State Secretary was delighted to already be engaging with young people on this important topic on his second day of work and pointed out that mental health will be part of the National Prevention Agreement. "It is important that we separate reality from the online world and that you have two different identities: one online and one in reality", stated Maarten van Ooijen.
A representative from Meta, the parent company of Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, indicated that the platforms themselves have a great responsibility and are searching for the balance between giving people a voice and ensuring security. The afternoon was wrapped up in a 'rap-up' by psychologist and rapper Daisy Veenstra. All input given in the session will be included by MIND in its 10-year program to improve the mental health of young people.
Read more about this event on the website of MIND Young [DUTCH]