Empty Likes: Social Media Addiction and the Erosion of Self-Esteem

Likes, tweets, snaps–these are commonly used words in the new lingo of today’s youth. It’s nearly impossible to find a student who doesn’t use some form of social media because it has become the new form of communication. Instead of texting or calling, they use Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram’s Direct Message feature, and many other apps. For many parents, it’s hard to follow and therefore hard to limit. When there’s no limit, excess can get out of hand–even to the point of social media addiction.

Social media addiction is becoming more largely recognized as the use of social media platforms further integrate themselves into our lives. This craving for likes, tweets, and views can have a powerfully damaging effect on young teens and how they view themselves–which is exactly why parents should be worried.

More ‘likes’ does not equal more self-worth

Wanting more “likes” on a photo or post doesn’t mean you have issues–but basing your self-worth off of how many “likes” you receive definitely does point to a deeper issue, such as social media addiction. When your daughter begins to think she’s not as “cool” or “popular” as someone else because she doesn’t get as many “likes” as the other person, there’s most likely something that needs to be addressed. Basing your self-worth off of how you look is never a healthy course.

In a survey conducted by Common Sense Media, researchers found that girls are particularly worried about their self-image on social media, even to the point of unnecessary stress and anxiety. According to the survey, 35 percent of teens were worried about getting tagged in unflattering photos, 27 percent felt anxious about how they look in posted photos, and 22 percent felt worse about themselves if their posted photos went unnoticed.

Helping your daughter use social media in healthy ways

Social media isn’t the devil; it can be a platform for inspiration and communication, but only if you encourage your child to use it that way. It can be easy to ignore the many social media outlets your child uses because you don’t use them, but in the end it’s much better to make an effort to understand and help your daughter learn to use them in a healthy way.

One way to do this is to open a discussion about social media. Ask your daughter about the photos she and her friends share with the online world–not in an accusatory way, just in a genuine interested way. Ask if she’s ever experienced negativity online or how she feels when she doesn’t get as many “likes” as her friends. Most of all, act as a role model. You need to show your daughter that you don’t base your self-worth off of your looks in order to really support her and help her grow into a confident young lady.

When dealing with social media addiction, it often develops from a place inside seeking for approval. Studies show that getting “likes” release happy hormones in the brain, creating a feeling that can lead to social media addiction in the right circumstances. This is what can make social media a possible danger for a vulnerable young girl with a tendency towards low self-esteem.

Asheville Academy can help with social media addiction

Asheville Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for girls, ages 10-14. Our students commonly struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, social isolation, social media addiction, and other behavioral or emotional challenges. With the help of our licensed therapists, experienced teachers, caring staff, and expertly designed program, our students move closer to a healthier life. At Asheville Academy, we use the best tactics and therapeutic methods in order to help your daughter reach success.

For more information about how Asheville Academy can help your daughter with social media addiction, call 800-264-8709 today.