Social media. We may love it or loathe it (sometimes both), but it’s here to stay. While it’s great for catching up with what your second cousin’s kids are up to across the country, social media can take up much of our time – and it’s not doing our kids any favors, either.
Adolescence is traditionally a period of navigating friendships, building social skills and riding a roller coaster of hormones, but social media is promoting new challenges: anxiety and lower self-esteem. Between the constant comparisons of looks and lifestyles, cyberbullying and the boldness so many find behind a keyboard, our teenagers are constantly bombarded with virtual interactions that leave them feeling anxious and surprisingly lonely.
Besides leaving kids emotionally depleted, social media is also robbing teenagers of important communication skills. Online friendships rarely require the more personal aspects of communication, which are necessary for successful real-life friendships. We often hear teens complain that telephone conversations are too intimidating. It stands to reason an actual conversation might be scary since most of their interactions are on a keyboard.
This article further details the challenges teenagers face in the age of technology and offers advice for parents who want to minimize the risks associated with the social landscape. (Hint: put your phones down, mom and dad. Teach by example!) Of course, if you feel your teen needs extra help with social skills or building self-esteem, AZ + A is always ready to help with private sessions, social groups, and more.