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Saahil Mishra: Logging into Loneliness

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Saahil Mishra

High schooler Saahil Mishra has a vision for a reformed social media… one that makes us more human. 

Throughout the pandemic, I would text a close friend of mine, let’s call him Adrian, almost daily. We would Snap back and forth, send random TikToks, and text about plans to eventually meet up. Six months later we finally did meet up, and for the first time, Adrian shared the traumatic life events he had been experiencing. Behind that shallow filter of social media, Adrian had been facing anxiety, depression and ultimately self-harm. Despite connecting” with him every day over social media, I hadn’t actually connected with Adrian until that day.

For those six months, I acknowledge that social media helped me stay in Adrian’s life. But only when we were together in person, could I read his body language, see the pain in his eyes and create a space where he could share his trauma. Only by being together, could I truly support him as a real friend.

Since the beginning of time, the depth of our connectedness is what made us human. I worry that social media is isolating us, as it numbs us to that feeling of true connection.

I also believe that there is a more hopeful, humane path forward. Imagine a social media that promotes meaningful conversations over one-sentence responses, profits off of contentment rather than watch time. Or one where we can share how we’re really doing. However, this requires us to stop being spectators to a game that decides our future. If we advocate for internal platform changes, to business model regulations, to major cultural and paradigm shifts, we can together build a healthier, more connected future.

With a Perspective, I’m Saahil Mishra. 

Saahil Mishra is a sophomore at Lick-Wilmerding High School and the founder of Unwiring, a non-profit organization dedicated to catalyzing change within social media.


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