Social Media! That one thing that all of us have that love-hate relationship with. But one thing is for sure. Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and whatever that comes next are here to stay. Unfortunately, studies have shown that social media may cause stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. Since kids nowadays are receiving mobile devices younger than before, they will inevitably be exposed to the dangers of social media at a much more vulnerable age. Therefore, it is critical that we as parents start preparing kids early to help them navigate the world of social media with the right mentality.
#1: Social Media does not reflect the real world, at least not entirely.
If there is only one advice that parents could share with their kids, this is the one. On social media, it is easy to be misguided that everyone else is leading perfect lives. This may cause your kids to develop feelings of envy leading to anxiety and depression. What we want our kids to understand is that such posts are carefully curated to showcase the wonderful side of one’s life. We will never know their boring or down moments because such moments are not generally considered to be “share-worthy”. Everyone has their highs and lows and there really isn’t a need to compare.
#2: People online could be cruel.
Cyberbullying is one of the possible problems that our kids may face online. Even if there is no intention to bully, under the veil of anonymity, even nice people could sound pretty harsh. Let’s remind our kids to take all online comments with a grain of salt and ask them to only take family and friends’ comments seriously.
#3: Don’t be worried about the number of likes.
You be you. As much as we like to be liked and good comments make us feel good, we have to remind our kids know that they should not let likes and comments determine their value.
#4: Do not be obliged to spend money.
Influencers and content creators may encourage fans to spend money on their channels and brands. One doesn’t necessarily have to spend money to support their idols as just consuming their contents gets them paid in some form. So, don’t worry too much for them.
#5: There are things in real life that could be more fun and the joy they bring last longer.
Remind your kids that while it may be fun to spend time on social media, such enjoyment seldom last very long. That is why you keep having to go back for more. On the other hand, if you are willing to look, there are real hobbies and true friends to be made back in the real world. And they bring joy that last.
All the best to you on your parenting journey.