How Platforms are Promoting Safety and Mental Health
TikTok, Facebook, and Snapchat are doing their part to promote safety and mental health on the platforms. Why should marketers care?
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A growing number of platforms are publicizing their dedication to make good on a fundamental responsibility to prioritize and invest in the health and wellness of its users.
Pinterest recently introduced a series of emotional wellness activities including deep breathing exercises for users searching for solutions to better manage their stress and anxiety. Instagram has also made strides in this regard, releasing a tool, ‘Restrict’ and expanding its suicide and self-harm content ban.
Additional apps are taking cues from these efforts including Snapchat, TikTok, and Facebook. Here’s a look at the latest and why they matter in the grand scheme of our industry.
Snapchat: ‘Here For You’
Ninety-percent of all 13- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat to engage with their friends. This particular demographic is especially vulnerable and internal company research has proven this by showing feelings of stress, depression and anxiety to be the top mental health issues reported by users and their close friends.
Similarly to Pinterest’s mission, ‘Here For You’ is geared more toward offering resources and starting important conversations that resolve these feelings and issues and less about uprooting the product. Specifically, the process works by linking users to a “special section within Snapchat’s search results” when they search criteria indicating they’re in need of support around issues such as anxiety, depression, stress, grief, suicidal thoughts, and bullying.
Illustrated below, if a user were to type in the word “anxiety” they’d be given a selection of short shows to pick from including the series “Chill Pill.” A mixture of original programming made with support from local experts will also be available targeted to topics of suicide, depression, and eating disorders.
According to the announcement, proactive in-app support is just one step towards “what will be a bigger health and wellness push from Snapchat” to be rolled out over the next few months.
“We feel a real responsibility to try to make a positive impact with some of our youngest, sometimes most vulnerable users on our platform,” said Vice President of Global Policy, Jen Stout in a statement to Fast Company. “We know this is the first step of a lot of work we want to do to provide the right resources to our users.”
‘TikTok Tips’: An Influencer-Led Safety and Well-Being Advice Account
Last month, TikTok updated its Community Guidelines to address potential issues with misinformation and expanded its rule around acceptable in-app behavior. Today, the company is taken yet another stand towards helping users make better decisions that are safer and better for their mental health and wellbeing through a new influencer led account dubbed TikTok Tips.
The premise is to use familiar TikTokers to run the feed and dish out fun and friendly reminders to fellow users around how to manage their privacy settings and to take a break from the app. Messages encompass simply getting some added rest while others reinforce the benefit of participating in IRL activities with family and friends to as crucial for building memories.
“We’re on a mission to promote privacy, safety, and positive vibes!” states the account’s description — one that aligns with the platform’s broader mission to serve as an environment of a positive, safe space free of judgment.
While it’s too early to make any declarations on how effective it will be in getting people to re-check their usage and take mental breaks from their constant scrolling, initial video uploads show promising engagement. Two, in particular, have garnered 16.9 million views and 17.2 million views respectively.
‘Ikaria:’ An App Dedicated to Tackling Issues of Loneliness and Isolation
A new generation of social apps is emerging and they want you to feel less lonely and isolated.
Meet Ikaria — a startup launched by Chrys Bader-Wechseler and co-founder Sean Dadashi. The app stemmed from a similar endeavor, Secret, which was a social space for people to share anonymously. A big learning lesson that drove a major change in his approach to platform development?
“People opened up, got vulnerable and felt less alone when comments revealed they weren’t the only person dealing with a certain struggle…we need to learn to do this in the light, to have that same kind of dialogue but do it openly with each other,” Bader shared in a statement to TechCrunch.
Put differently, this time around he wants to tackle a fundamental lack of “vulnerability, presence, self-disclosure, and reciprocity” seen on other existing platforms. “Technology has created this monumental shift in the human social experience. We’re more connected than ever technically but all the studies show we’re lonelier than ever. It’s like eating McDonald’s to get healthy. It’s not the right source of nutrition for our social well-being.”
Ikaria will address this issue by establishing a deeper “customer relationship” with users where they can have a safe space to interact with close friends, family, or those sharing similar life struggles. Specifically, guided experiences will allow members of the chats to optionally reflect and discuss what they’re feeling. Right now there’s no subscription or in-app payments for buying content.
“The hope is that eventually, this would be an app you use instead of iMessage, to increase your sense of presence,” Bader said. Mental health aside, when it comes to our time and attention he hopes this can be an answer to an era where people are increasingly looking for ways to ensure their time online is well spent.
If you’re a company that caters to younger demographics, especially Gen Z, you’ll want to keep tabs on these initiatives and fundamental shifts. Why? Because they are at the heart of what these audiences care about, are interested in, and expect when establishing their loyalty to the brands they purchase from, and the apps they spend their time on.
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