TikTok MENAT hosts summit on media literacy, youth mental health

TikTok MENAT organized a discussion with safety experts from the region on topics such as youth well-being, media literacy, and critical thinking skills in the digital age. The event, moderated by Omar Butti, took place on 13 February at Warehouse 4 in Al Qouz, Dubai. It provided valuable insights into how digital communities affect the mental health of the young generation and how to engage with social media content in a meaningful and critical way.

The first panel, titled “Equipping Young Digital Citizens with Media Literacy and Critical Thinking Skills”, featured Lynn Sutton, TikTok’s Head of Outreach & Partnerships, Trust & Safety EMEA, and TikTok’s Safety Advisory Council members Naila Hamdy and Akin Unver. They discussed the importance of media literacy, especially for younger audiences, and stressed the need for informed conversations about safety and crisis response.

The second panel, called “Building Digital Communities for Youth Well-being”, included Lynn Sutton, TikTok’s Safety Advisory Council member Maitha Mohamed, and Lecturer of Educational Psychology, Trainer & Speaker on Leadership and Mental Health Jana Bou Reslan. They explored how digital communities foster compassion among users and highlighted the importance of constructive dialogues on mental health, supported by strong content moderation processes, in creating a nurturing environment for all.

Lynn Sutton said: “TikTok is constantly striving to make our platform a safer and more welcoming space for everyone, ensuring that all users have the necessary tools and support to engage with content safely and responsibly. Our community guidelines are designed to ensure that the platform remains a positive and inclusive space for everyone. We take action to address potential challenges, and conversations like the ones that took place in TikTok’s MENAT Youth Mental Health Summit are critical to ensuring a safe environment for everyone, most importantly youth.”

Naila Hamdy emphasized the importance of media literacy in navigating various types of content, especially in an age where information spreads quickly. She said, “It’s crucial to critically assess content and take appropriate action. We encourage young people not only to create content but also to become responsible digital citizens. Parents and educators play a central role in equipping young individuals with media literacy.”

Jana Bou Reslan also shared: “Engaging parents is paramount to creating safe digital communities for the younger generation. Parents’ insights are valuable in not only creating important safety processes but also in guiding how the youth can interact with digital platforms healthily and responsibly.”

TikTok is at the forefront of introducing features to help support the community’s mental well-being, both on and off the platform. The platform has been proactive in promoting mental health awareness and encouraging users, especially teenagers, to take steps to prevent trolling and bullying and to set daily screen time limits.

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