Social media is a modern phenomena. Never before have we been so interconnected with other people, and keeping up to date with everything that happens in their lives. And on the one hand, this can make staying in touch with your loved ones much easier, especially during a pandemic. However, this is very much a double edged sword, and we all know that social media can bring some horror stories to our doorstep.
So when you’ve got a child in the family who absolutely adores being online, and loves sharing on sites such as Instagram and Snapchat, you’ve got to be social media isn’t negatively impacting them. You wouldn’t want your child to be hurt by the online world, and you wouldn’t want all that time they spend in front of a screen to harm them as they grow. And because of this, we’ve collected some information below on how social media could be affecting your kids.
Low Levels of Self Esteem
Self esteem is the number one thing that can be affected by social media. In particular, we see far lower rates of self esteem, across both adults and teenagers, and that’s something we definitely need to change! Because when it comes to using social media on a daily basis, we expose ourselves to other peoples’ lives, in both glitzy and intimate terms, and often enough that’s not good for mental health.
After all, your teenager might feel bad about not looking like the other teenagers and older men/women they follow on Instagram – they might feel much more ugly than them, in a variety of ways. Similarly, they might feel bad about their own lives and accomplishments, simply because they’re not posting similar content to their own profile. If someone they follow has just bought a new, flashy car, or has signed up for a ‘brand deal’ with a top company, it can carry negative connotations about what they’re doing with their own life. They might even end up feeling worthless as a result.
So what can you do, as a parent, to try and stop social media from negatively impacting your kids like this? Well, make sure they know that what they see online is far from the truth! People only allow you to see what they want on social media, and that’s not a reflection on how ‘badly’ their own lives are going in comparison. Keep hammering this message in, because it can do a lot to change the negative feeling.
Plenty of New Friends
However, it’s not all doom and gloom, and that’s very important to keep in mind. When your kids use social media, they could be exposed to all kinds of content that can damage their self esteem and self image, and give them confidence issues as they get older, but they can also come across communities that they feel they’re a part of. In joining these communities, whether it be an online gaming group or a Facebook group they liked the sound of, they can make many new friends that are just like them.
And making sure your child makes friends with people who are who they say they are can be easier than you think. Using a website such as familyorbit.com, you can use a call and text logger that’ll help you keep track of who your child is talking to, in real time. And if you ever get suspicious about what the person on the other end of the message is saying to your child, you can easily step in to ask them some questions yourself.
Of course, make sure your child knows you’re aware of who they’re talking to, to help keep trust between the two of you. You don’t have to tell them about the app specifically, lest they work out how to turn it off, but be sure to be open and honest with them about your own intentions.
Keeping Your Child Safe Online
Social media can have a variety of effects on the young brain, and as a parent, you’re probably well aware of just how damaging a constant online presence can be. However, make sure your kids know the dangers too, and that what they see online isn’t representative of life as a whole.
Make sure your kids know they can come to you when the internet has made them uncomfortable, and that amongst all the bad people they might come across, there’s plenty of new friends out there too.