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Adored By Teens, Social Media Can Ruin Lives

Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, Tumblr, and who knows how many other forms of social networking are playing a huge part in girls’ low self-esteem and confidence. I can’t even keep up with the apps that are consuming children and teens anymore. Blasting photos, posts and barraged with the amount of “likes” and “followers”, it’s creating devastating effects on kids everywhere.

Posting selfies and pictures have become the new norm. Waiting anxiously, girls obsess scrolling through their likes and comments. The feeling of superficial accomplishment runs through their veins creating a sense of temporary satisfaction. On the other hand, not getting enough attention from their posts can trigger immense feelings of insecurity and negative thoughts. Whether it’s a picture of their french fries they just ate, or the friend they just took a selfie with, their distorted perceptions somehow fulfills their empty space of acceptance.

My daughter came to my room the other night and said “so and so unfollowed me on Instagram.” I asked her “why”? She told me when she asked her friend why she unfollowed her, the friend openly admitted “well, it’s just too hard for me to see you with other friends. You were with so and so and I got upset.” Gotta give the girl credit where credit is due! She was upfront and honest. No hidden agendas. She shared her feelings and didn’t feel the need to lie. And so, I asked my daughter how she responded to that, and she said she was honest and told her, “well, just know that we’re all friends and I love hanging out with you too, my friendship with you is just as special.” It’s like BAM! An empowered awareness of the space they’re creating in their own social media world! Just one single post can either be devastating or exhilarating – in a split second.

Not every young girl or boy knows how to handle social media. These kids barely know themselves and trying to navigate their own world, let alone know how to confront uncomfortable interactions. Virtual interactions. Hiding behind the face-to-face contact. As we all know, messages and communication through texting gets misconstrued and confusing. It can lead to blow outs and relationship and friendship break ups. But there’s also a definite upside to communicating via social media. There’s no one size fits all replacement for face-to-face interactions. It’s just that social media has widened communication in the world we live in, for people, for businesses, all across the country.

Either way, my point is, there’s an upside and a downside for children and teens using various forms of social media. Like anything else in life, if used with caution, it can be positive and life changing. However, for young girls and boys, including the tween and teenage years, it can also destroy reputations, and cause devastating, if not debilitating effects on their confidence and self-esteem. My advice for my media is great, but proceed with caution before hitting that "send" button.

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