Raising teenage girls is harder now than ever before for one simple reason, social media. Before our teenagers had instant access to their Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts, they could use home as an escape to get away from the pressures and drama that accompany teenage relationships. Now they have no escape as they have constant access to social media, making it nearly impossible to cultivate healthy relationships because they are too absorbed in their phones. Here are the main ways social media affects your daughter and what you can do about it.
Makes Her Self-Absorbed
Social media is fueled by attention. Your daughter will compare herself to everyone, and based solely on their online profile she will compare if she is as popular, pretty, fun, and exciting. This persistent desire to have the most “likes” will make your daughter self-absorbed. She will crave the attention she receives online and become addicted to the constant competition of being popular amongst her peers.
What to do:
- An easy way to teach your daughter humility is by finding a volunteer project you can do together. By finding a way to help others in need, your daughter will learn how to forget herself and focus on other people.
- It is also important to have a conversation with your daughter that social media is not a reflection of real life. Her friends will only post the high moments in their life, which makes it unfair and unhealthy for your daughter to compare herself to someone’s else’s best moments.
In an attempt to get more followers or “likes” on her profile, your daughter may compromise her standards by posting inappropriate pictures, or by making tasteless comments. She may even acquire an alternate persona online, where she says and does things that she would never do face to face. This need for affirmation will carry-over to your daughter’s “real world” relationships and cause her to seek out individuals who give her the attention she so desperately craves.
What to do: Make a rule in your home, that when each family member comes home, you put your cell phones away in a designated space. This will allow you to spend valuable time together as a family and give your daughter a chance to escape social pressures and cultivate meaningful and healthy relationships.
Followers Not Friends
One way of judging someone’s popularity online is by how many followers they have on their account. Some of these people may be your daughter’s friends, but the vast majority will be mere acquaintances or complete strangers. These followers are not her friends, and yet she will seek for their approval above all else.
What to do: Facilitate fun activities for your daughter and her actual friends with a strict “no cell phone rule.” This way they will be able to enjoy themselves without the unnecessary pressure of making sure the rest of the world knows how much fun they’re having.
While we may not be able to completely escape social media, there are steps we can take as parents to make sure our daughters don’t become victims of social media’s negative affects.