Social media and mental health

Facebook is once again on the news. This time  Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, provided insider knowledge on the tactics to promote ‘toxic’ content that drives engagement (and profits!)  at the expense of the mental health of young users. 



3 female students discuss the negative effects of social media on mental health. They wonder why there is so much focus on Facebook when Ticktock , Twitter and Instagram are probably more toxic. They discuss how different platforms can affect your mental health in different ways from extremism and radicalisation to body dysmorphia and low self-esteem.  

How to strike the right balance between free speech and the cancel culture?

Who is responsible ?  Why corporations are not suitable as they profit from our ‘problematic’ use of social media. What is the role of parents ? What is the appropriate age limit for social media use? What is the role of the government? 

But it is not just about complaining! They come up with creative ideas  for online safeguarding such as having kids versions of Instagram and other channels implementing stricter controls so then it is up to the parents to check which apps are their kids using.

They open up reflecting how they deal with the influencer culture, face filters and peer-pressure and provide helpful advice to stop online grooming and abuse.                                                                                                                      


Congratulations to Nagad, Sujood, Tajseane for  your excellent work! 

You can access the podcast here 




Top image source: Flickr

First published: 11/11/2021


We are Sculpt

IARS International Institute to operate as Sculpt

*Charity CEO available for interview – details in notes 

A UK-based youth charity today changes its operating name from the IARS International Institute to Sculpt. 

IARS is an international NGO that’s been working to empower young people to forge a fairer society for over 20 years. Their work is guided and evaluated by young people themselves.  

Over the last 20 years, IARS has delivered more than 70 successful projects that have addressed real problems that young people face, in areas such as: 

  • Gender discrimination 
  • Violence against women and girls 
  • Supporting young people to find work 
  • Creating green and sustainable business 
  • Promoting collaboration among young people across the world and much more. 

In 2021, with the world changing rapidly and opportunities for their work shifting, they decided to refresh their purpose and identity, and made the decision to rebrand as Sculpt. 

Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of Sculpt, said: 

‘We are delighted to launch our new brand that speaks to our aim to empower young people to shape their future.

‘We believe that many of today’s young people are facing unjust challenges – economically, environmentally and socially. A fair, sustainable society can only evolve if all young people have the opportunities, the confidence, the ambition and the skills to make their voices heard and propel change in their communities, irrespective of who they are or where they come from.  

‘Our rebrand, like our work, has been guided by research and by young people themselves. As an organisation we base our work on rigorously researched evidence and are led in our approach by our youth advisory board. Their voices and insight are critical to solving the right problems in meaningful ways.’  


Notes to editors:  

Dr. Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of The IARS International Institute is available for interview. Contact Claire directly on: +44(0) 7833 224442  


Sculpt is a UK-based charity providing research, training and work-experience opportunities that empower young people to shape their own futures and those of their communities. 

We work directly with young people, employers and professionals who support young people. All our work is guided by young people themselves and based on carefully researched evidence. We: 

  • Facilitate forums for young people to make their needs and their voices heard. 
  • Publish a magazine by young people to express their perspectives and encourage debate around public policy issues. 
  • Conduct research to uncover young people’s real needs and what works to empower and support them. 
  • Deliver training to build young people’s confidence, skills, ambition, resilience and sense of responsibility, so they can shape their futures and change their communities for the better, as leaders, social entrepreneurs and active participants in civic life. 
  • Deliver training for professionals who work with young people, drawing on our research and expertise. 
  • Engage with employers to facilitate work experience and employment opportunities for young people to develop skills and access diverse jobs. 
  • Facilitate international exchange opportunities to encourage and enable young people to experience and appreciate other cultures, perspectives and ways of life. 

We tackle disempowerment from three angles: working directly with young people to build confidence and skills and their voice, working with professionals who support young people, and working with employers to break down barriers to opportunity.