How taking a social media break revealed its negative impact in school

MHA Admin

Tue, 09/05/2023 – 15:44

by Keegan Lee

In the midst of the pandemic, as a 16-year-old, I found myself constantly gravitating toward my phone. Humanity was already in a state of social isolation, and I turned to social media as a means of connection. Tech addiction is something that is affecting all generations on a global scale. Knowing this, I decided to delete social media for 60 days to experience life without something so prevalent among my generation.

During the cleanse, there were pivotal moments where I realized that my social media obsession was not individual – it was universal. Several of those revelations occurred in my school environment, where I could witness just how consumed my peers were with social media. They wouldn’t make eye contact, they would only talk about topics that were on social media, they wouldn’t know how to engage with each other when they didn’t have a device, and periods of awkward silence were broken by turning to the screen for comfort. I thought to myself, “What is happening?” An environment that is supposed to be collaborative, communicative, and inspiring was being limited due to the fractured attention caused by social media.

As students, our success is not only influenced by academic excellence but by a variety of behavioral and social factors that help us reach our potential. However, the consistent interruption of social media in the school environment can negatively affect student achievement if not used responsibly. Some of the key components needed for educational success can be shown through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a classic psychological model of human motivation. It is predicted that if an individual garners all the stages of the hierarchy, they will achieve their full potential.

The social media algorithm can be assessed through the lens of Maslow’s Hierarchy. If social media has the power to fulfill our needs and desires as humans, it has the potential to override what it means to truly connect with one another, and act as a distraction at school.

Physiological needs — food, water, rest: Typically, when we are hungry, the main priority of the brain is to find food to eat. Our minds are then on constant alert for food. In the digital world, when we are “hungry” we turn to social media to “feed” us. We may be on constant alert for visual or auditory cues that increase our likelihood of going on social media, such as phone “buzzes” or when the phone lights up because of notifications.

Safety needs — safety, shelter, security: From an evolutionary standpoint, humans are equipped to want to feel as if they are a part of a group. Prehistorically, if one was ostracized from the “herd” they would be more vulnerable and at a higher risk of survival. Social media makes us feel safe in several ways, whether that is through a particular community, online group chats, or several comments.

Belonging and love needs — intimate relationships and friends: As children enter adolescence, they are essentially “leaving the nest” and yearn to find individuals that will help them navigate the challenges of the teenage years. They may turn to social media to connect with others their own age.

Esteem Needs — sense of accomplishment and prestige: When we are flooded with likes, comments, and followers, we feel a great sense of productivity.

Self-actualization and achieving one’s potential: Self-actualization may occur when we receive the expected amount of likes, comments, notifications, or followers that we had envisioned for ourselves.

In order to create a school environment that fosters creativity, togetherness, and critical thinking, we must learn to use social media intentionally and responsibly to reach our academic goals and make the most out of the 2023-2024 school year. For more tips for yourself, caregivers, or schools, explore Mental Health America’s Selfies, Social, and Screens: Navigating Virtual Spaces for Youth toolkit.

Keegan Lee is a member of the 2023-2024 MHA Young Leaders Council, author of “60 Days of Disconnect,” an active member in the Log Off Movement and Young People’s Alliance, and studies psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina.


The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…


Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.


Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at: