Technology is rapidly evolving. Teens are exposed to thousands of indirect attacks on their self-esteem due to social media. Check out these tips from Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, to learn how social media affects your teen’s mental health.
How Can Social Media be Harmful to the Mental Health of Teens?
Studies show that using social media may be related to low self-esteem and high anxiety symptoms. Unfortunately, teens view this medium as the best source of connection and belonging to a particular social group. This makes it hard for them to let go and puts them more at risk of developing depression, anxiety, or even self-harming.
How Can We Identify Low Self-esteem in Teens?
It is important to identify and address unhealthy levels of low self-esteem and anxiety before they affect their level of functioning at school and within their social environment. Children with low self-esteem display behaviors such as:
- Negative self-image
- Lack of pride in their achievements
- Negatively comparing themselves to peers
- Putting themselves down
- Finding it hard to keep friendships
- Inability to deal with failure
What Role Can You Play As a Parent?
Parental involvement is critical to counteract the negative effects social media may have on their teen’s self-esteem. Some things you can do as a parent is:
- Avoid denying your children access to social media. Social media is an unavoidable and essential part of your teen’s life. Building a relationship of trust and understanding is more effective than making threats.
- Teach the practice of positive self-talk. Negative self-talk is the culprit behind depression and anxiety. Teaching children how to talk to themselves positively will help improve their self-esteem.
- Have an open conversation. Express the importance of questioning other’s beliefs, values and behaviors to avoid negative effects on their self-worth. Emphasize that what is amusing for some, may be harmful to others.
- Help them identify the actual source of self-worth. Highlighting teens’ accomplishments and personality traits will bring their attention away from negative comments online.