The use of technology and social media has significantly increased within the past decade. Various social media platforms have emerged and it seems like most teenagers obsess over selfies, Snapchat streaks, and the latest TikTok trends. Many parents feel lost and do not understand their child’s constant need to post, respond, or like their friend’s posts. Teens tend to become very invested in the number of likes they receive and their peers’ response times. Parents often express concerns related to emotional and behavioral changes their teens experience as a direct result of their social media use.
Ongoing research has also validated these concerns related to the psychological impact social media has on developing adolescents. It has been shown that over 95% of teenagers have access to smartphones and various social media platforms. There is also significant research that indicates that rates of depression and suicide has increased within the last 10 years. Mental health professionals believe that the increase in mental health concerns is directly related to the increase in social media use.
Often times, social media platforms attempt to portray an unrealistic world. Social media users and influencers showcase snapshots of their lives that their followers may view as perfect and glamourous. Their audience often fail to realize that only the positive is often posted and the true realities of their lives are often not posted for the world to see. Pictures are often taken using filters and shot at calculated angles. Many teens have described feeling pressured to post the most perfect pictures, where their skin is free of any imperfections and their bodies look a certain way. As a result, teens often rely on deceiving filters and applications used to enhance or slim certain body parts.
The majority of parents struggle in helping their teens cope with the pressures of social media. Teens often think that their parents cannot relate and don’t understand the important role social media plays in their personal and social lives. However, it is important for parents to be involved in their children’s social media use. The following tips can help you manage your teen’s social media use better:
- Communicate openly about the impact social media can have on many individuals. Help your teen understand the unrealistic images often posted social media accounts by helping them analyze posts from different perspectives.
- Periodically monitor your teen’s social media use and followers. It is important for parents to know the accounts their teens follow on social media and the various pages they may be exposed to.
- Set screen time on their phones. Limit your child’s access to social media platforms by setting parental controls that limit the amount of time they can spend on their phones on a daily basis.
- Encourage your child to participate in social activities, such as sports, clubs, and hobbies. When your teen is active and spending time participating in activities with their peers, they are more likely to develop healthy friendships and spend less time on their phones.
If you are concerned about your teen’s social media use or the impact social media has had on your child, it may be helpful to contact a psychologist. A qualified psychologist may help you and your family effectively navigate through your teen’s difficulties and help your teen develop effective coping mechanisms to better handle the pressure and anxiety social media may trigger in individuals. Licensed psychologists at Miami Psychology Group are currently providing individual, couples, and family therapy services in the Miami and Miami Beach area.