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Courage in the Catalan Media: Davinia Hernández-Leo speaks for ARA news



Leading Researcher, Davinia Hernández-Leo talks to the Catalan newspaper ARA news to reflect on the importance of training youngsters’ social media skills. “We cannot ban the use of social networks among young people. Conversely, we can train their critical thinking skills”.


Children and teenagers are highly engaged in social media; however, despite its advantages in promoting youth socialization, the presence of risk factors makes it an unsafe environment. According to journalist Mònica Bernabé, a new trend is causing a furor among female adolescents who, in pursuit of the ideal body, are joining social media communities that promote unhealthy patterns.


Pro-ana and pro-mia communities in social media challenge female teenagers to risk their health in an attempt to achieve their body ideals. Accessing these communities is as easy as clicking on posts or images on Telegram, YouTube, or Twitter, and according to Bernabé, who infiltrated these communities, most women join with the same purpose: losing weight, even if it means resorting to extreme measures.

While several scholars and policymakers have addressed the importance of limiting access or implementing regulations, Courage researcher Dr. Davinia Hernández-Leo calls for social media literacy as the most effective method. "We cannot ban social media, but we can train young people in critical thinking and self-protection skills." Professor Hernández-Leo, who has led the Courage project in collaboration with other European universities since 2019, has introduced the Courage Companion to ARA News. The companion that operates in a simulated social media environment provides young people insights and resources to identify algorithms and manipulated content on audiovisual platforms such as Instagram. To read the full news items access ARA news HERE.



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