It’s all about finding the right balance, Leanne ‘Kai’ Brackett
 tells young social media users, at SIBF 2020    

Motivational coach shares advice on how teenagers can make a little social media
go a long way at a Sharjah International Book Fair 2020 online session

Sharjah, 12 November 2020

Social media does not tend to be widely trumpeted as something that benefits mental health, but when used moderately and mindfully, it can help boost our sense of wellbeing, said Leanne ‘Kai’ Brackett, motivational coach and author, and Executive Director, Bite Club LLC.

She was speaking at a social media session titled ‘Teens & Social Media’ held on the ‘Sharjah Reads’ virtual platform as part of the Sharjah International Book Fair 2020.

Brackett said given the role the online world and social media played in the life of an average teenager, it would be unrealistic to expect them to forgo it. “It’s definitely all about finding the right balance.”

Curate your feed

As well as being sensible with how much time you spend on social media, being mindful of what you expose yourself to online is vital, said Brackett. “Increasing exposure to harmful content, cyberbullying, and the pressure to portray a perfect life, face and body, can be problematic, particularly for young people. Regularly viewing content that triggers feelings of anxiety or inadequacy will affect many peoples’ mental health in a negative way, so try and be aware of the type of content you consume.”

She advised teenagers to actively look for content and follow people who, “make you smile, inform, and inspire you. If you do that, you are far less likely to experience a negative response to social media and can even benefit from it.”

Social media is here to stay

Love it or hate it, social media is a part of modern life for many people, opined Brackett. “Being aware of its positive and negative effects on our mental health, and tailoring how we use it, is no doubt the best way forward. Social media is really important for a lot of people, especially teens, and particularly when it comes to friendships, keeping up with what is going on, and combating social isolation.”

Brackett concluded saying it was important that we attempt to take advantage of all the positive things social media offers and try to minimise the negatives. “We can do a lot to manage the impact it has on our own health. Spending time doing the stuff we love away from social media, unfollowing accounts that are not making us feel good, and only looking at positive content – it all helps.”

From Lens to the World

In another session held earlier, photographer Joe Hattab spoke to moderator Nada Alshaibani about how photography can be used as a tool for transmitting world cultures, highlighting his passion for the art form and how he combines the worlds of narration and photography which lead a fulfilling and creative career.

Organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), SIBF 2020 concludes on November 14. Being held under the theme, ‘The World Reads from Sharjah’, the 39th edition has adopted a fully digital format to host its cultural and social media programme of 64 unique events, which are being streamed on SBA’s virtual platform over the 11 days of the fair. Register for upcoming discussions at