High school is a difficult time for even the most well-adjusted kids. For most, it’s the first time that they may actually have to come face to face with their impending futures after school. Combine this with extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs or jobs, plus navigating an ever-changing social landscape and it’s no wonder most teens sometimes feel stressed or anxious.
But one of the biggest differences between today’s teens and those of their parents and teachers is social media: kids are documenting all aspects of their life and sharing it with their peers. Often these posts only show the best parts of someone’s life – fun activities and fashionable clothes. Kids are also following the highly edited accounts of celebrities and sports figures and comparing those lives with their own. Coming at a time when kids’ self-esteem can be a little fragile, this can lead to feelings of depression and inadequacy.
How to combat the pull of social media for your kids? Talk to your kids about the type of things they post on their own feeds (make sure to take this time to explain the dangers of posting too much personal information), and discuss why a post was shared. As part of this activity, point out that many of the posts people make are highly idealized versions of their life, using your own child’s posts as an example.
Encourage kids to only check social media a few times a day, and to take the time and think about how each post makes them feel after reading it. Noting the emotion that each post causes can help kids become more mindful in how they use social media. If they notice that certain posts make them feel sad or anxious, they may be more likely to scroll past similar posts in the future. Or they may consciously seek out the type of posts that make them smile or feel better about themselves.
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