With the increase in social media availability, teens are more connected to one another than ever before. As a result, they can build one another up or tear one another down in a matter of moments. Unfortunately, most teens are choosing the latter–and even when they aren’t, social media is causing a distressingly negative impact on the self-esteem of tweens and teens.
Perfect Image Beyond the Body
Let’s face it: most teen or tween especially girls would probably never choose to post that frumpy, rolled out of bed late and barely got to school on time while still wearing sweats image on Instagram. Instead, they post their best pictures. From the picture that makes them look ten pounds lighter than they are in reality to the perfect date-night picture of girls who are dressed to the nines, social media usually displays only the best image each teen has to offer.
It’s not just body image that gets slammed by the “only the best” status posting on social media. Most teens and tweens only post the good news: another college acceptance letter, a new award, or information about that “perfect” date the night before. Pummeled by this image of perfection, teens and tweens often forget that their peers are only posting the good while simultaneously ignoring the bad. It’s as though everyone on social media has banded together with the common goal of only putting their best foot forward–and it’s slowly convincing teens and tweens that whatever they’ve accomplished and whoever they are isn’tgood enoughbecause their “everyday” doesn’t measure up to someone else’s “best.”
Social media, however, provides a constant stream of, “Why is no one noticing me?” Teens wonder:
Why did no one comment on my post?
Why did that post get more likes than mine?
Why did that special someone not react to my post?
Why do I never have as much response as someone else?
With that level of pressure, it’s little wonder that teens and tweens have steadily deteriorating self-esteem as they struggle to deal with the constant competition associated with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
In the worst possible scenario, teens and tweens don’t just struggle with acceptance and peer response to their posts, nor do they merely find themselves jealous of the “perfection” experienced by their peers. Cyberbullying has added an increased viciousness to the torment that many students experience every day. Now, they don’t get away from their tormentors when they go home. Instead, they’re pounded from all angles. The online environment gives the illusion of anonymity. Characters on the screen aren’t equated with real people. As a result, many children are being bullied relentlessly–and worse, without proper monitoring, their parents may never even realize it.
Exposure to social media can have an incredibly negative impact on the developing self-esteem of many young people. Controlled access to these intense online environments may allow teens and tweens to develop in a way that is more historically “normal,” especially as their exposure to the so-called perfection of their peers is limited.
Be Mindful Of What You Post
When you have hundreds of friends or followers on social media, you have people from all kinds of backgrounds, jobs, beliefs, and values. Tweeting or updating your status or even sharing a meme with a general statement may seem like harmless fun to you, but to others, it may read with a very different perspective. This could come back to bite you with a particular friendship, work relationship, or even lead to a fight or argument on your wall or feed. I am all for free speech, but when expressing your personal views & opinions, it is always a great idea to keep things light, as it relates to social media.
Netsanity — https://facebook.com/netsanity — helps parents manage, monitor and protect their family smartphones and tablets. Learn more: https://netsanity.net