Social media can be a great way to connect with people and keep up with events, movements, and celebrities. It can also lead to depression and dissatisfaction. If your teen is struggling with their self-esteem, social media may be contributing. Here are some things to consider and possibly address with them.
Social media platforms are full of people who love to show off their bodies. Many of these influencers use photo shop or specifically designed angles and lighting to make them appear more fit or trim than they really are. These “ideal” body types and figures can affect your teen’s self-image. Trying to fit an idealized standard can lead to unhealthy eating patterns. It can also cause your child to simply be dissatisfied with how they look. Help your teen develop a healthy body image by having open conversations. Discuss what the media gets wrong, and reinforce the things about your teen that are beautiful and valuable.
Social media perpetuates different myths about life. Since so many people post their very best on their social media, it’s easy to assume that everyone else is happier and more secure. This can create insecurity as teens see their peers in relationships or having more freedoms. For example, pictures of others’ happy relationships can perpetuate feelings of loneliness. If your teen is struggling with some of these things, talk to them. Be a listening ear for them.
Studies have shown that social media can actually be addictive. Teens can almost become dependent on the amount of likes or followers they have. Often, teens also feel pressure to present their best selves online. This can lead to an unhealthy obsession with a certain image. For example, teens can spend time and energy on choosing just the right pictures and content to get more affirmation. Addictive behaviors like these can also lead to depression and other mental struggles.
Social media is not all bad, but there are things to be cautious about. Take some time to address these things with your teen, and be a support for them as they grow and learn.