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In a country run by social media, teens often struggle to compete with the rigid and difficult to obtain beauty standards set forth by popular media. Flawless celebrities with lavish lifestyles and large public followings have created a system of believe that beauty, popularity, and the acceptance of others is desirable above all else but only if they can be perfect.
Issues such as substance abuse, eating disorders, and self-harm, can arise as a consequence of low self-esteem and often these issue have corresponding support groups online that encourage children to endanger themselves further. Social media will continue to influence and encourage children at younger ages as they become more and more accessible; parents have little choice but to take extra efforts to educate themselves and remain connected.
Social media is truly an ever-changing landscape of hashtags, language, and trends full of innuendo and multiple meanings. Parents can feel intimidated by the constantly changing platforms and lingoes used in social media however remaining vigilant, connected, and aware is essential. It can be upsetting and difficult to understand when a child as young as 9 years old is concerned with their body and beginning to show signs of low self-esteem.
Children struggling with body image issues often turn to social media for encouragement and validation however some may find themselves discovering dark avenues and receiving harsh criticism instead of support. Parents are in a difficult position when their encouragement and support isn’t equally valued to Instagram or Tumbler and yet the desire to teach self-acceptance and express love is still so important.
Ultimately, parents may find themselves struggling to monitor social media while demonstrating trust and respect for the child’s independence nevertheless control and monitoring social media is necessary. It is natural for teens to have wavering self-esteem as they develop, this can sometimes create distance from their parents as they struggle for independent self-expression. A parent’s strongest tool is education: it’s important for parents to learn about childhood development and the encouragement of self-esteem starting at a young age.
Truthfully, staying connected and communicating can easily become strained when teens are constantly distracted by social media. Parents can use this infographic to give themselves the education needed to identify dangerous trending topic and develop ideas on how to help teens manage social media pressure.