While I wish I could say that I have finally cracked the social media code and discovered the perfect equation for social media usage for each age, genetic sequence, and personality type, what I can do is provide some insight that I’ve learned from my work with adolescents to highlight (both positive and negative) real-life experiences that today’s teens are having with social media.
Below are common themes that I’ve observed:
1) When provided the space to speak openly about the impacts of social media, adolescents are often able to insightfully identify the various impacts that social media has on them.
2) Adolescents who view social media as impacting them positively tend to use social media in the following ways:
3) Adolescents who view social media as impacting them negatively tend to use social media in the following ways:
While these insights are purely observational, some common themes have become apparent. Adolescents who experience social media positively tend to have:
1) The ability to establish boundaries around the content and individuals that they engage with.
2) A secure base of real-life connections to depend on and help them navigate the online world.
Effectively, the best that we can do is facilitate and maintain open communication with our children regarding their use of social media, help our children learn how to establish healthy limits and boundaries around their use of social media, and exist as secure bases for them when they need our support.
I challenge you to initiate the conversation with your children without any agenda in mind, just to learn and understand.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about social media lately, and I wanted to hear about your experiences with it. How do you feel like it has impacted you?”
You may be surprised by what they say.
Until next time, Be Wise!
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Thank you for doing what you do for so many people.”—from the parent of two former clients (siblings)— Parent of two former clients (siblings)
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