From Diary to Social Media

Mental processing on TikTok is performative, not healthy.


John Stonestreet

Timothy D Padgett

In a video for the Identity Project, Dr. Leonard Sax notes that 20 years ago, many young girls had a diary in which to write, privately, about the journey to discover who they are and what they want. That kind of introspection is healthy and helpful. Today, however, too much mental processing is done on TikTok and Instagram. It’s not private but performative. Think of the teenage girl who takes 100 selfies, choosing two or three to offer her social media audience, after carefully touching them up.  

That is not healthy. As Dr. Sax put it, “The difference between the diary and social media is the difference between living and performing.” 

The constant striving for approval, which rarely comes, from a disembodied online crowd also trying to “perform’’ and, at times, hurt others, inflicts long-term damage on the mental and emotional wellbeing of young girls.  

That’s why, when it comes to teens and social media, the right call is to say “No.” Go to to hear Dr. Sax’s excellent talk. 


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