The majority of people in this country have some sort of social media account. Initially, social media was developed for individuals to stay in touch and interact with friends. Then it became a community for many where people began making connections with others based on interests and locations. Additionally, businesses began using social media as a way to market their brands and reach out to potential customers. In all, social media has benefited many individuals and businesses; however, it could be said that too much of a good thing could have its negative effects. Many report that the use of social media can impact one’s emotional functioning and level of productivity. Since initial social media platforms have been developed, social media has expanded and has grown to much bigger proportions than initially imagined – but who is being negatively impacted and why?
Although social media benefits individuals by connecting them with old friends and build communities, it is important to understand how social media may negatively impact more vulnerable communities – specifically preteens and teenagers. Research shows that pre-adolescents and teens are being significantly impacted by the growth and popularity of social media platforms. Teenagers seem to be the most negatively impacted group, as the use of social media in teens is linked to increased anxiety and depression, poor self-esteem, and increased procrastination.
Tips on Managing Teen’s Social Media Use
Parents are often unsure of how to handle and supervise their teenage children’s social media use. Unfortunately, some social media platforms allow teens to easily access pages that are not age appropriate or pages containing content that may further impact emotional difficulties. The following are tips focused on helping your teen manage their social media use:
- Set limits. Help your child understand the importance of setting time limits on social media accounts. Settings on electronics could be used to limit the amount of time each social media platform can be used on a daily basis. Parents should also have access to information detailing how much time their children spend on various social media platforms on a daily basis.
- Educate your child. It is important to educate your child about the effects of excessive social media use, as well as unrealistic expectations that social media can set. Remind your child that content posted on social media pages are not always an accurate representation of reality.
- Help your child use social media in a positive way. For example they could be encouraged to follow specific accounts that encourage positive behaviors, such as giving back to the community or learning new skills. If your child uses social media with a purpose, then it can lessen the likelihood of getting wrapped up in accounts that could be unhealthy for them.
- Supervise. Parents should have access to their child’s social media accounts and should frequently check their child’s activity on their accounts. For example parents should know who is following their child and know who their child is following back. Being aware of your child’s activity and following can help minimize any inappropriate or harmful activities.
If you believe your child is being negatively impacted by their excessive social media use, then it may be helpful to meet with a qualified psychologist who can help you and your family develop a plan to use social media moderately and more productively. Licensed psychologists at Miami Psychology Group are currently accepting new patients and are available to provide individual, adolescents, family, and couples therapy services.