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It has always been important for kids to know that their self-worth has nothing to do with the approval of others. However, the Youtube and social media culture today make it even more critical to healthy adolescent development. The approval of others is often what we focus on when using social media. “Look how many likes I got for that post!” It can become the main reason some teens use social media. At the time of life where the approval of others seems so important, social media is often the Pied Piper leading adolescents into social media compulsion.
Part of combating social media compulsion is helping teens, especially girls, understand their value is not based on fame and other people’s approval. Furthermore, parents need to limit the amount of time their teens spend on social media and decide which social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) are allowed in your home according to their age and your values. I also recommend that as their parent, you stay connected with what they are doing on social media by “following” their account with yours. Having your own account on the social media platforms they are involved with will also help you understand how they work if you are not already using them. Finally, channel your teens social media interest in a beneficial way by helping them develop an effective LinkedIn account that they can use for college and career ambitions as discussed here by Josh Ochs of Safe Smart Social. This way, maybe they will begin to understand difference between seeking approval for yet another “duck face” versus demonstrating their abilities and accomplishments in an effective way for an important purpose.
See our App Watch page to evaluate the social media choices for your family.