Social media has become the new medium for teenage angst. On Facebook, teens share posts complaining about their lives, blaming school and their parents for all their problems. On top of that, in today’s selfie culture, teens see heavily photoshopped and filtered images that lower their self esteem.

Kate Winslet and social media

In recent news, Oscar winning actress Kate Winslet announced that she does not allow her children to be on social media, stating that it “has a huge impact on young women’s self-esteem, because all they ever do is design themselves for people to like them.” She also said that she believes images on social media make young girls have eating disorders, which is the reason she does not allow her children on social media.

Winslet is not wrong to be worried about social media and self esteem. According to a study conducted by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, a link exists between negative self esteem and Facebook usage. The study found that women who use social media are apt to be less happy and content with their lives.

Why use social media?

Another study conducted by scientists at Edinburgh Napier University found that 12 percent of users studied said Facebook made them anxious. On top of that, many said that they felt pressure to post inventive status updates and felt guilty to reject friend requests. Why should young people feel stress just because of something as trivial as social media? The answer lies in the importance of social media to young people. Social interactions nowadays are pretty much limited to social media. Cutting off social media would be like cutting off a teen’s social circle.

 

Tips to help improve self esteem

It may be nearly impossible to separate your teen from social media, but there are ways you can help lessen the negative association between social media and self esteem. These include:

  • Encourage their talents: Instead of focusing on complimenting exterior looks, encourage the things your child is passionate about. Get them involved in sports or theatre. That way, they’ll be too busy to worry about what people think about them on social media.
  • Be a role model: You’re probably on social media too. Don’t get hooked! If you start worrying about your image on social media, how can you help your daughter work through her self esteem issues? Never insult yourself in front of her. She needs someone who she can look up to.
  • Talk to your daughter: Ask her what’s going wrong in her life and use your own life experiences to work her through what she’s going through. Knowing that you experienced some of the same things she’s going through can help her work through her low self esteem.

Asheville Academy for Girls can help

Asheville Academy for Girls, a therapeutic boarding school for young girls ages 10-14, helps girls struggling with low self esteem overcome their issues and find success and happiness.

For more information about Asheville Academy for Girls, please call 800-264-8709.
Image source: Flickr user- jasonahowie