Canadian YouTuber, entertainer, producer, advocate and television host Lilly Singh doesn’t think the landscape of social media will ever get shaped into what parents hope it could be.
The content creator and influencer spoke during a live recording of the “Lipstick on the Rim” podcast, hosted by Molly Sims and Emese Gormley at TheWrap’s 2023 Power Women Summit.
“I want to preface by saying I do not have any kids. So take this with a grain of salt, but my belief coming from social media is I don’t think that landscape and that climate will ever change and become what parents want it to become,” Singh said. It creates a climate “that forces us to compare ourselves to other people, that gets us in the comments reading an argument and arguing with other people, because that’s how engagement is formed.”
Gormley followed up by asking about tools that can be provided to children to navigate the environment social media creates.
“I will even do it for you,” Singh said of making a toolbox. “We need to give our kids, and ourselves — let’s be real, not only our kids — the best tools and mindset possible to understand what social media is. Things like, I meditate and journal enough to know that when someone says something to me on social media, it actually has nothing to do with me.”
Sims picked up on her remark and repeated it.
“Whether or not I like you has nothing to do with you, because I could like you, and then she could not like you,” Singh said, noting that them having “different opinions” clearly has nothing to do with the object of those opinions. “It’s really our projection onto other people, and when you get deeper and you get more mindful, you understand those things.”
Singh went on to discuss “The Mindful Adventures of Unicorn Island,” a free animated series she worked on in collaboration with Headspace. The series teaches one mindfulness exercise per short 10-minute episode.
Singh acknowledged that her career benefits from social media, and she also evaluated how it affects her thinking patterns.
“I’m going to be honest, social media is why I have a job. It’s why I’m sitting here. I started making YouTube videos. I started creating content. I built a community. I built an audience,” she said. “My brain — I’m both happy and sad to report — thinks in terms of social media, it thinks in terms of content.”
Throughout the session, Singh joked that a man must have set the thermostat at the conference because every woman in the room was cold.
“Like right now I’m sitting here, I’m like, ‘Oh, it’d be such a funny reel, live, like we show a guy at the thermostat,’” Singh said. “My brain is thinking like this all the time.”
“I’ve also been forced to constantly reflect on my relationship with social media, because it is a double-edged sword. I think it’s a beautiful tool for unity. We’ve seen it accomplish amazing things,” she added. “I’ve raised so much money for charity, my nonprofit, because of social media, but I’ve also had some of the worst days of my life because of social media.”
Listen to the episode here and watch the full live recording below: