Teens deal with many extreme pressures as they learn to navigate their social worlds, and this means that sometimes they test out personality traits that harm others. With the prevalence of social media, this means that the wrong image could follow a teen far beyond their teen years. A social media misstep that happens now could affect your success for the rest of your life. This extreme amount of stress means that teens spend hours cultivating their image, and this amount of time spent disengaged with a rounded self-image can be very damaging to a teen’s self-esteem.
If you believe your teen is spending too much time online, it may be time to consider social media addiction treatment. The effects of cyberbullying can have adverse effects on your teen’s well-being.
Social Media and Self-Esteem
You typically do not show your unattractive pictures, tell embarrassing stories, or exhibit your worst behaviours on your personal social media accounts. Because of this, each interaction on social media plunges you into a world of cultivated images and personas. This also means that the wrong image can affect you or your teen’s digital life very deeply. For better or worse, social media and self-esteem are linked.
Self-esteem comes from the ability to find worth in your own abilities. If your teen feels like everybody else is out in the world coping better than they are, they may feel an overwhelming disconnect from their natural abilities. This can trigger everything from body dysmorphia to a deficiency in real-world communication skills. Teens may seek validation from unhealthy sources and quickly dismiss the possibility of working toward real-life connections. The effect is a blending of extreme narcissism with extreme insecurity.
Effects of Cyberbullying
With the rise of the online persona, a troubling trend of cyberbullying has also grown. In any social space, the same behaviours will occur. However, cyberbullying is especially damaging. A childhood nickname will go away in everyday life, but if a person’s image is used in a meme, that image may follow them for years, undermining their ability to get work or secure real-world friendships. Cyberbullying is repeated behaviour intended to shame the individual in some way, possibly by revealing their fears, their personality weaknesses, or insecurities. Some examples of this behaviour include:
- Body shaming
- Impersonation of someone else
- Circulating lies
- Sending threats or practicing extortion
- Posting another person’s photos or messages
Because a teen’s life is often very wrapped up in their social media image, these damaging situations can affect their self-esteem and have even driven depressed teens to take extreme measures like hurting themselves.
Signs of Social Media Addiction
Most people check their phones many times throughout the day. It is something that goes with living in a digital age. A few intervening actions you can take as a parent to help your teen include:
- You can replace social media with healthful coping mechanisms where possible.
- Encourage your teen to take walks outdoors, meditate, or play an instrument. Hobbies that fall outside of the performative realm of social media can help them reconnect with themselves.
- Manage your teen’s screen time.
- A shared computer in a public space can help you keep track of when your teen is using their computer, and there are digital controls in most phones that you can set that limits the time a teen spends on social media.
- It’s important to remember that many social media platforms impose strict age limits, as well. Know these limits and discourage your teen from joining these platforms before they are ready to handle the responsibility.
- Talk with your teen about social media.
- Engaging teens in their world and making sure you have open lines of communication may help them come to you when help is needed.
If you believe your teen may be spending too much time online or may be the target of cyberbullying, they may need help coping with the damage this could do to their lives.
Restore Your Teen’s Self-Esteem with Venture Academy
If you believe social media addiction or the effects of cyberbullying are affecting your teen, consider Venture Academy’s 30-day assessment, intervention, and behaviour treatment programs. These programs offer your teen the support and learning tools to guide them toward positive growth and inner strength.
If you are still feeling unsure, consider taking our interactive child behaviour test by calling 866.762.2211. It only takes about five minutes of your time and may assist you in taking the appropriate steps toward restoring a sense of meaning, self-worth, and success for your teen.