For the majority of teenagers, social media is a central part of their everyday lives, with 90% of teens using it on a daily basis. Even though there are plenty of good things about social media, it can also be a huge source of pressure and stress. In fact, social media pressure often increases a teens likelihood to suffer with mental health difficulties, ranging from anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours. With these negative effects to consider, it’s important that parents learn to help teens deal with the pressure social media causes. Here’s some ways you can help.
Remind Teens That It’s Just The Highlights
It’s so important to remind teens that social media posts aren’t always ‘real’- pictures can be edited, stories can be manipulated and content often only showcases the highlights of a person’s life. Making teenagers aware of this while they’re engaging with social media will help them realise it doesn’t show all the real or more difficult parts of life. By helping them be more aware of this, it can certainly bring teens back down to reality and remind them that the pressure to be perfect and keep up with others on social media is unrealistic and unhealthy for them.
Encourage Social Media Breaks
It’s important to encourage teens to take a social media break a few times a week or to only spend a limited amount of time on social media per day. You can even set up time limits and alerts on apps like Instagram and Facebook for it to send a notification to your teen telling them how much time they’ve spent on there for that day or disable the app if they’ve used up their daily allowance. Even though we know they want to socialise with friends and be up-to-date with all the latest gossip- it’s incredibly beneficial for them to step away and take part in activities away from the pressures they face on their screens. Encourage them to meet their friends face-to-face, go on a family walk, read a book or watch a movie. We guarantee it will do them a world of good and help them take a step back from online pressures and enjoy the ‘real’ world.
Communicate With Teens Often
The pressures of social media can slowly creep up on teens and cause mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours. That’s why it’s crucial to keep communication open with them to avoid things getting to this point. Even though it might be difficult to begin with, chatting with them about social media, what’s going on with friends online and so on, is a great way for them to open up and offload the pressures they may be experiencing. If you find it an uncomfortable conversation at first, you can always share how you feel about social media or what you’ve been noticing on your account lately to help break the ice.
Help Teens Connect In The Real-World
A great way to relieve the pressure of social media is to encourage your teens to connect in the real-world. This means meeting friends in person and spending quality time with family, engaging in face-to-face conversations and real-life interactions. You could even challenge your teen to leave their phones at home the next time you all go out for a family day and see how it makes them feel. Simply spending quality time with people who are living in the moment can help teens realise the pressures they’re feeling from social media platforms aren’t realistic and that often enjoying real life is much more fun.
Teach Teens To Not Be Judgemental
Finally, one of the most beneficial things parents can teach teens when it comes to social media is to not judge others and what they see online. Adopting this attitude will help them to realise if they don’t judge others, they don’t have to judge themselves either. It can also be freeing to stop comparing what they’re doing to their peers, and instead start to feel more confident in their own skin and stop worrying about what they ‘should’ be posting on social media.