By Alexandra Evans, Head of Child Safety Public Policy, Europe
For many young people, the global pandemic has created a more challenging present and a less certain future. Now more than ever, young people need support but rules on social distancing and lockdown make it harder to check in with them to find out how they're feeling, what's worrying them and what support they might need.
TikTok is supporting a youth charity to run a listening project with young people aged 14-24 to better understand their experience of lockdown and give them a voice. While no group of young people can speak for all, some key themes have emerged. These are explored more fully in our project partner's report but include: the challenge of coping with uncertainty, anxiety about going outside, negative mental health impacts and how connecting to friends and family digitally makes them feel.
We were bowled over by the young people's commitment to supporting each other, their families and their wider communities despite facing challenges of their own. We're hugely grateful to them for participating and we hope this project will go some way to introducing their thoughts, concerns and solutions into discussions about how best to meet their needs.
One of the findings that struck us was young people want to use lockdown as a moment for self-reflection about what's really important to them. But this comes easier to some than others. For those who struggle, this can create an additional worry.
In response to this finding, we worked with our project partners to develop the #WhatMattersMost challenge which gives people an easy way to carve out a brief moment of self-reflection. It's our small contribution in response to the report. We hope others will hear the voices of young people and be similarly inspired.
We've been so impressed by our community's contributions to the challenge so far, and we can't wait to see the new and wonderful ways in which young people on TikTok will continue to use their creativity to overcome these difficult times.
This is just one of the ways we've been supporting our community during lockdown, others include #HouseofTikTok, a series of fun and educational live programs and challenges aimed at keeping our community happy, healthy and entertained at home.
About the project
TikTok has supported Partnership for Young London and Healthy London Partnership Good Thinking service to run a bi-weekly listening project with young people aged 14-24 in and around London to better understand their experience of Covid-19. The young people are part of the Digital Health Ambassador programme set up jointly by Healthy London Partnership and Partnership for Young London. Ambassadors are invited to answer a questionnaire developed by PYL and HLP, developed using the ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) model to encourage mindful, guided self-reflection. The project team includes Dr Richard Graham, a consultant psychiatrist specialising in child development and digital wellbeing.