Navigating the pressures of social media

It’s no secret that social media is now a function of everyday life. Amongst young people, this statement is heightened. To keep in touch with friends and the ‘in crowd’, it’s an expectation that young people be present on a multitude of platforms.

Having an online profile helps to create a sense of belonging amongst the younger generation. Whilst these platforms offer the chance for young people to connect with others online, it’s not all rainbows online. There are negative impacts of these platforms too.

Some behaviours online can be linked back to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, issues with self-esteem and self-confidence and sometimes loneliness. As parents, the goal is to ensure our children are safe online. Make sure your children are keeping social media in perspective and emphasise the importance of in-person connections.

To help navigate the pressures of social media, talk with your children about social media and what’s involved.

Communicating with your child is key when it comes to social media. Their online life can often be private, meaning you are kept out of the loop. But try to encourage your student to reflect on their screen time or what platforms they interact with and why. What do they like about the platforms they use? What don’t they like?

The editing of photos and the bodies that are presented online can bring about some negative thoughts. It can make children feel bad about their bodies or compare their bodies to the edited images they have seen online. Ensure that they know that these photos are edited too. From an outsider’s perspective with further insight into the platform and the ways, creators use it. This is not a reflection of reality, make sure they know this. Focus on their health and find confidence in other outlets rather than the reflection they see.

Find positive profiles or content that fights back at the edited, photoshopped versions. Good role models that share the values you and your student wish to embody. Think about your student’s interests. With a vast online community, they’re bound to find like-minded people that share positive content that align with their interests.

Why not introduce some screen-free time. Designate a time during the week or each night after bed, where the phones are put away. In this time students can spend their time reading a book, spending time with family or perhaps even studying! They will be able to recognise the benefits of the world away from the screen.