At just 18 years old, Amandla Stenberg has established herself not only as an up-and-coming actress, but an advocate for social justice and mental health, too. Stenberg is one of three women on the cover of Teen Vogue’s September issue, discussing her mental health, her fears about how social media will affect younger generations and why she ditched her iPhone for an old-school flip phone.
With 1.3 million followers on Instagram, Stenberg seems to be living what Gen Z might describe as #goals, but the California native is not naive about the impossible standards social media sets for young people. “It creates such unreal expectations for what we think our lives should be,” Stenberg told Teen Vogue. “I see a lot of people around my age who are really unhappy or experiencing disconnection from reality because they base so much of their existence on the Internet and on their interactions with people they might not even know.”
And while it’s easy to feel like having a smartphone is an absolute necessity in this day and age, Stenberg prefers a slightly more analog approach to communication, especially during today's stressful current events. “Amid all of the chaos in the world right now, it’s so important that everyone actively works to preserve their mental health so that we’re able to heal and create change. I got rid of my iPhone, and that was essential in preserving my mental health. Now I have a flip phone that I just use to talk to people and hear their actual voices,” Stenberg said.
Switching from a smartphone to a flip phone isn’t an option for everyone, but Stenberg’s choice is a good reminder that spending a little less time focusing on the news and social media can be a boon to your mental well-being.
Read Stenberg’s full interview in Teen Vogue.