We all know how time consuming social media can be and that the amount of time spent online can impact studying and grades. Social media is also scientifically proven to lower adolescents’ self esteem and increase anxiety.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are just a few of the trendy social media platforms that are constantly being used by teens. Besides cyberbullying and the risk of talking to strangers online, several other negative side effects of social media use exist. Site and app users are not able to observe or participate in non-verbal communication because they are not interacting face-to-face. Additionally, the profiles and pictures of their peers that they are seeing online are not accurate portrayals of reality. They may assume that their friends’ lives are much more exciting that they actually are as people are only going to post the best pictures that make them look as interesting as possible. Constantly comparing oneself to others is unhealthy and usually leads to a poor self image.
While it may be unrealistic and unnecessary to ban the usage of all social media, limiting the amount of time your tween/teen spends online is important. Having set “no phone” of “no computer” times during family dinner and homework is one way to implement social media restriction. You can also pick a specific time before bed for all electronics to be turned off for the rest of the night, and perhaps kept outside of the teen’s bedroom if they have a difficulty adhering to the rules. Don’t be surprised if your kids initially have a negative response to the new rules, but after they find new ways to fill their time, they won’t miss their electronics so much.
Try to promote in-person socialization by recommending that your child makes plans with a friend to go do an activity they enjoy. Lastly, being a positive role model and talking to adolescents about their self-esteem and teaching them positive ways to build upon it will always be critical.
Child Mind Institute (childmind.org)