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Future of Psychology,
Youth Advocate

Naiya Patel Daswani is a Sophomore at the Harker School in San Jose, California. She is passionate about teenage mental health, particularly related to the effects of social media on self-esteem and well-being. 

Her interest in this area is personal. While living in Marin County, she was the only South Asian girl in her grade for nine years. During this time, she was marginalized and she experienced the emotional distress that comes from being ostracized online and in person. She has since worked with various organizations, such as About-Face, which frees girls from the confines of toxic media culture and helps girls find their voices and safe spaces to feel belonging. 

She recently completed a research project using AI to detect and classify online hate speech in social media. Using a publicly available dataset of 150,000 multi-modal tweets, she was able to achieve accuracies of over 86% using a range of custom deep learning models to classify online hate speech (I have included a summary of my research paper below). She created a Discord Bot and a website which displays my delivery vehicles as well as educational resources. Additionally, through an internship she took part in with About-Face, she created a podcast and blog discussing topics related to mental health, intersectionality, and other societal issues which affect my generation and beyond. 

She is a Youth Board Member for the California Department of Health Services to provide a teen perspective for the development of an app centered on mental health and wellbeing. As a part of this contribution, she has been able to review potential app vendors, test app content, and provide feedback and suggestions. She also has spoken to student audiences at schools in India and South Korea on the topic of developing practices to build wellbeing.

The global pandemic was a difficult period for my generation and resulted in a significant portion of our day being spent online. She is passionate about helping mitigate the negative impact of social media and supporting my peers with greater mindfulness and awareness of our collective mental health.

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