Because of the detrimental impacts of social media, so many parents try to completely remove phones from their children. This may eliminate the issue of obsessive social media use, but it’ll undoubtedly lead to other issues, such as the kid feeling alienated and socially isolated, as well as plenty of conflict at home. You raise a typical parenting conundrum: how to strike a balance between your teenager’s social wants and constraints necessary for their health and wellness.
The Philosophy That Stands Behind Social Media and Teens
Social media parenting presents particular and frustrating difficulties. Parents are unaware of what it’s like for teenagers to grow up in the social media age. Instead, we frequently see stories about how social media could be harming a whole generation (our children). However, social media use has ingrained itself so deeply into the lives of our teenagers that an outright prohibition is unachievable.
As much as the media would have us think that social media is harmful, the research around social media and teens isn’t as clear-cut as they make it out to be. Your intuition that using social media may lead to a happier social life is correct. It can encourage social engagement, which has advantages including improved mood and building a sense of belonging that’s important in adolescence. Teens’ use of social media appears to be less of a determinant than how they use it. Making continuous social comparisons, which makes kids feel horrible about themselves, and using “likes” as a stand-in for value and likeability in real life are the parts that seem to pose the most risk to mental health.
A Few Possible Steps
Start by being curious. Pose open-ended questions to your teen, such as how they choose what to share and what the “likes” on their posts mean to them. Do they worry about the dangers of social media? (You can cite the particular platform they prefer.)
Try to see things from their point of view. What does it feel like when they receive many likes compared to when they don’t? What thoughts do they have? (Even if they don’t have any instant responses, this still encourages them to think about their interior experience.)
Depending on their response to these discussion starters, show sympathy for their situation. This can include how being active on the platform makes them feel like they belong to their friend group more or how getting lots of “likes” boosts their self-esteem.
Justify the regulations governing their use of social media. Share your worries about the amount of time they spend on their phone and social media, both of which are intended to incite compulsive behavior for commercial gain. Teenagers are known to dislike feeling used or controlled. You can mention the consequences on mood, anxiety, and self-esteem that are known to be detrimental.