When we were growing up, we had it lucky when it came to social media (or lack thereof). Today, social media has catapulted into conversations surrounding increased bullying, violence, low self-esteem and even suicide.
Kids today are living in the social media era, meticulously documenting their lives on various platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat for others to see. If you don’t have a presence on social media, you don’t exist … which explains why there are more than 2 billion users around the world. On Instagram alone, there are more than 100 million images uploaded daily by more than 1 billion users.
Social media has become a portal for kids to curate the world they want others to believe is theirs, basing their worth on follows, likes and comments.
5 things that happen to kids when they use social media
An increase of anxiety or depression
Many can experience anxiety or depression if they feel they don’t have the lives others post about online. They can also fear losing access to the accounts and documented lives of what they think they really want.
A loss of the authentic self
Social media is highly curated to create a world designed to appear a certain way. By posting images and information that is aligned based on how others will perceive something, the authentic self is lost.
Self-worth based on social media
In a new Netflix documentary, Social_Animals, a teen girl states that if her post doesn’t average at least one like per minute in the first hour of posting, she takes it down. Even if “likes” come from a sense of obligation from online friends, this validation becomes an addiction and provides a temporary boost of confidence and self-worth … until the next post.
A love-hate relationship is born
Social media can be fun and exhilarating when we first start. Our first posts to friends are exciting, typically rewarded with a tidal wave of likes and comments that make us feel very loved. This can be very short lived when we post something that is ignored, controversial or — worse — misinterpreted.
FOMO becomes real
Curating a life of luxury isn’t that challenging anymore. There are apps to show a picture perfect face, a way to fake your location on some remote island, and even a way to photoshop ourselves into private jets. The more we see what we think is the perfect life the more we feel we are missing out.
Do you want to make sure your kids are safe from negative experiences on social media. The Digital Citizens Academy offers a home program to help you protect your children online.