Imagine being a tween or teenager today. You easily see how many social media followers, friends and post likes you have compared to others. You scroll your feed and see your friends enjoying a party you weren’t invited to. Every day you’re bombarded with selfies and images that are edited to perfection.
It takes Herculean inner-strength not to constantly compare yourself to others!
Teens have always been drawn to comparison as they strive to fit-In, but teens today find it hard to avoid comparison. And this has taken a toll on their mental health. According to recent studies, there’s a link between teens, social media and increased rates of depression.
President Theodore Roosevelt’s popular quote, “Comparison is the Thief of Joy” is as meaningful today as ever. It’s become a mantra in our house and a steady reminder of the downside to social media.
Yes, social media is an integral part of how teens relate and there are definitely positives. But it’s important to help kids understand the negative aspects too. I watch for unhealthy comparisons and remind my kids often that social media is not a measure of their self-worth or reality.
In her book, Enough as She Is, Rachel Simmons explores the many pressures facing adolescent girls today and how parents can help. She shares great tips, including how to help youth use social media in a healthy way.
How to Use Social Media Wisely – From Enough as She Is by Rachel Simmons
- Don’t use social media to PROVE something about yourself. Instead use it to SAY something about yourself.
- Don’t use social media as a tool to COMPETE. Instead use it as a way to CONNECT.
- Don’t use social media to ASK what others think of you. Instead use it to SHARE what you think about the world, issues you care about or yourself.
- Don’t use social media to AMPLIFY YOURSELF. Instead use it to be part of something BIGGER than yourself.
- Before posting, ask yourself…Why am I doing this? What is my intention?
The important lesson that joy comes from within is often life-long. I’m hoping that regular discussions of what brings us joy and the danger of comparison will help my kids along this path. Please feel free to share any ideas that you use in your home as well!
PASS IT ON. Jessica Speer’s weekly BLOG focuses on helping kids and families thrive. Posts offer simple ideas to help kids and families connect & foster healthy relationships. If you know someone who might appreciate this content, please pass it on! Click here to follow blog via email or Facebook.