Today, Pinterest is proud to announce its support of the Inspired Internet Pledge. The pledge, created by the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children's Hospital in collaboration with Pinterest, is a call to action for tech companies and the broader digital ecosystem to unite with the common goal of making the internet a safer and healthier place for everyone, especially young people.
Around the world teens are experiencing a mental health crisis and the role social media platforms play is being closely examined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), youth mental health has continued to worsen, with large increases in widespread reports of harmful experiences among teen girls. Nearly 3 in 5 US teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, representing a ~60% increase and the highest level reported over the past decade.1 The latest health advisory from US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy expresses concerns about the impact social media may have on youth mental health and urges action to gain a better understanding of its full impact.2
Placing emotional wellbeing at the forefront
The Inspired Internet Pledge provides a framework for companies to take meaningful, measurable actions to support positive mental and emotional wellbeing outcomes both on and offline. By deliberately putting mental health and emotional wellbeing at the forefront of these efforts, the pledge guides participating companies to address the ongoing mental health crisis with accountability built in.
Efforts to design and maintain a healthy digital ecosystem for young people are more effective when businesses, thought leaders and issue experts join together for impact. The Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children's Hospital works to develop an evidence base for digital wellness by conducting, translating, and distributing rigorous research on the positive and negative effects of technology and interactive media use on young people to understand and promote their positive and healthy digital media experiences. Their expertise in the field and leadership developing the pledge led to the creation of a framework that is actionable and focused.
Joining the pledge to create a healthier, more positive internet
The pledge is an opportunity for the entire tech ecosystem to come together and show, not just tell, how we are addressing some of our most serious challenges. Signatories commit to three basic principles:
- Tune for wellbeing: Understand which actions and content correlate with wellbeing outcomes to inform how to build and evolve products and services that support healthier experiences
- Listen and act: Listen to and act on insights from people who have experienced harm online and the experts who support these communities, to inform the evolution of the policies and product
- Commit to openness: Share lessons, creative solutions, and best practices collaboratively across the industry
Each signatory will create its own supplementary addendum to the pledge that describes the specific actions it will take to implement the pledge principles in ways relevant to the realities of their platform. These company addendums will be managed by the Digital Wellness Lab and made public to hold signatories accountable to their commitments. In addition to technology companies, advertisers, issue experts and non-profit collaborators can participate by issuing a statement of support to make the internet a healthier place for young people. Learn more and read the full Pledge on its dedicated website InspiredInternet.org.
“At the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children's Hospital, we believe that by sharing innovative, rigorous independent research and clinical expertise, we can change the paradigm for how young people use technology and engage with digital platforms. The relationship between technology use and mental health is complex and nuanced. This reality has created a responsibility and an opportunity for tech companies to create a healthier internet that will help young people build a positive sense of self and a productive relationship with technology.” — Dr. Michael Rich, Founder and Director of the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“I’m incredibly proud that Pinterest is the first signatory and partner on this pledge. We’re inviting our peers and the industry to join us in this pledge to create more positive wellbeing outcomes for young people. We need to do this together. To build a better internet for our better selves, emotional wellbeing has to be a real, measurable result, and the standard for the entire industry.” — Bill Ready, CEO at Pinterest
The problem will not be solved overnight, but by putting a framework in place and working together collectively, the tech industry can take steps toward a necessary, positive change.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary & Trends Report: 2011-2021” February 13, 2023, https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/YRBS_Data-Summary-Trends_Report2023_508.pdf
2 Office of the Surgeon General, “Social Media and Youth Mental Health: The US Surgeon General’s Advisory” US Department of Health and Human Services, May 23, 2023 https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/sg-youth-mental-health-social-media-advisory.pdf