Don’t Get Sucked Into The Social Media Guise
We know it, we love it, and we hate it. What exactly is “it”? Social Media. Social media has been the talk of most clinical experts since the start of its increasing popularity amongst teens. Is it toxic? Healthy? Contributing to body image issues? Creating a reliance on external validation? Destroying teens’ self-esteem and self-identity? These are the questions that are often asked and that echo the pressing concerns we all too frequently hear from parents.
Social media is not reality but many teenagers have failed to recognize this as it has consumed their daily lives and completely altered their entire sense of self.. What can we do to help?
Can Social Media Affect Mental Health
The simple and short answer is yes, it most definitely can. When it comes to social media (especially for adolescence) we tend to constantly compare ourselves to others we may be following. It can cause increased anxiety, depression, and body distortion. Teenagers can be so immersed in trying to be the best that they will take hundreds of photos to get the “right” one, use numerous filters to enhance the image, and post at peak times, when people are using social media the most, to get more likes.
This phenomenon can only be explained by comparison culture. We can become so caught up in the newest trend and the most likes that we begin to lose ourselves. We constantly feel the pressure to do something better than everyone else. Torrence Wimbish, one of our therapists at Eva Carlston says, “They struggle with addiction and have gotten reinforced with quantifying their sense of self.”
Social media can deeply damage your mental health, which is something we are familiar with at Eva Carlston. For this reason, we find that it’s important to have our students “detox” from their technology before they begin to gain it back. Their dopamine has gotten so used to feeling good from seeing their likes go up, that it can be a difficult but necessary adjustment to make.
Social Media Vs. Reality
As a parent, your initial reaction may be to eliminate social media from your child’s life. However, social media is here to stay, and at Eva Carlston, we take the approach of it can be an effective tool to stay in touch with people who are important to you, and let’s use it in a healthy way.
At Eva Carlston, we strongly recommend creating a healthy environment of trust, understanding, and open communication. Talk with your child about social media and the dangers that can happen. It may be wise to have your child charge their device in a common area in the house at night, turn off the wi-fi at a certain time, or set down ground rules where they cannot use technology at dinner. When it comes to social media, it’s nearly impossible to eradicate it, but it is important to manage it.
Many are using social media to seek external validation when in reality, they need internal validation. Allow your family to re-engage with each other and make space for real-time connections.
Social media can be a great resource for many, but it has a side to it that is harmful to our mental health. It’s important to remember that your worth and self esteem do not depend on others and taking a break from social media can benefit you greatly.
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