How social media can negatively impact teens
If you have a teenager who is a regular social media user, it’s important that you keep your eyes wide open and also know the negative impacts it can have.
Peer pressure and depression
Social media has people putting up a better and more exciting version of what their life really is like. Social media is all about flaunting oneself so purchases of expensive gadgets, attending social events, concerts and so on are posted. Looking at social media can make a teen feel that others have a better life and some may even get depressed. The need to compete with peers also puts stress on them. Facebook depression is a term coined to describe depression faced by teens when they are made to feel inferior via social media.
Drop in social skills
Too much time on social media can actually lead to a drop in real life social skills. The skills to read body language and tonality go down if one merely uses social media to communicate with friends.
Cyberbullying is a very real and scary thing for every parent. A teen’s reputation can be shredded online in a minute. Friends may reveal secrets, leak intimate photos or spread lies about a teen that can have a very negative impact. It could lead to depression, psychological problems and even suicide.
Sleep deprivation and addiction
Social media and internet can turn out to be an addiction to the point that all other activities are relegated to the background. A drop in performance in academics and other areas of life, mental health issues and so on can result. This can also lead to sleep deprivation.
What can parents do?
It’s impossible to completely cut off social media but here are some things that you can do to make things better. Reassure your teen that you are there for him or her, no matter what. Also make your teen understand that nobody’s life is perfect and the glossed over picture perfect life on social media is not real. Also let your teen know that it’s ok to make mistakes in life, and that one can make amends. Help your child balance various aspects of life, encourage real life interaction with peers, relatives and others.