It’s important to familiarize yourself with how social media works and its influence on your child – so then you can support them to use it in a healthy and positive way.
We talked to teenage girls to find out what they love and hate about social networking.
Teenage girls, social media, and popularity
“When you post on a social network, you’ve got to try not to get hung up on the ‘likes’. Of course you notice but you have to remember that’s not all it’s about. The thing is to really enjoy posting and to make sure your post reflects you and your world.” Louise*, 14
How social media can hurt teenagers’ self-esteem
“You think, ‘I’ll just have a quick look!’ – and you’re there for ages. You look at everyone else’s posts and you think, ‘they’re so pretty. Their life is so cool.’ It can make you think everyone is having a better time than you. It can make you feel not good about yourself because you think, ‘what’s wrong with me? Why aren’t I having that sort of time?’
What you have to remember is: people post their best moments. No life is high point after high point. Who posts their fat pictures or their bad hair days? Yep, that’s right – no one.” Hannah*, 15
Social media offers an edited version of reality
“I kept seeing all these cool parties on social media websites, and I was thinking, ‘wow, they’re just so much fun. Why are all the parties I go to so dull?’ And then I realized: I am AT those parties. They’re dull because they’re full of people just looking at their phones and taking pictures.” Olivia*, 16
Social media influences young people’s sense of self(ies)
“People create a false self, a fake self. They post all these selfies, and they’ve photoshopped them and messed around with them. One day I was doing that; I was photoshopping an image and, when I’d finished, I hardly recognized myself. I thought, ‘that’s not me.’ I realized that it was ridiculous – I really do want to be me. So it makes a nonsense of it all.” Shannon*, 14