Kimberly Barrett Luttery
Social media is a huge part of many children’s lives every day. It is a great tool to use for help with homework, playing educational games, learning about other cultures, and so much more. But there is a whole wonderful world beyond the computer right outside of their doors available for them to explore. Adults must ensure that children engage in healthy activities that nurture their minds, while demonstrating healthy behavior for them to emulate. Building confidence, self-esteem, and emotional stability starts at a young age and adults are one of the biggest influences that children have as they mature.
Social media is a powerful communication's tool used by millions, if not billions of people. There are so many engaging platforms peruse that it is easy to become consumed, spending enormous amounts of time writing comments about Facebook posts, looking at pictures of puppies on Pinterest, viewing celebrity stories on Instagram, playing with photo filters on Snapchat, or watching influencer's videos on YouTube. It is a great tool for connecting with old friends, business marketing, learning about what’s happening in the world, and innocent fun.
This form of communication has allowed some people to turn what they love into thriving businesses. Musicians have been discovered and become superstars by sharing their songs in homemade videos, make-up artists have followers in the millions and turned their artistry into collaborations with huge brands, and families who share their everyday lives have quit their day jobs and make a great living vlogging.
Everyone wants to feel wanted but likes on social media are not a definer of one’s self-worth. Comments and likes should not be the cause of mood shifts to euphoria if you receive lots of them, or depression if you do not. These platforms are great when used in a healthy way, but many children and adults are impacted by the pressure to feel wanted and accepted, and unfortunately, have attached it to their social media accounts. The desire to post, share, friend, and receive likes has become an obsession for many, so much so that if not careful, responses, or the lack there of can impact your emotions, self-esteem, or even determine the trajectory of your day.
We are all important with or without social media. Each of us is special and irreplaceable with a number of things that our family, friends, and peers “like” about us.
There are many articles and studies about the impact that the overuse of social media has on people’s mental health. Much of this information encourages limiting the time that we spend on it because for some, the more time that we spend, the worse we may feel. But if used responsibly, social media can enhance our lives in very positive ways.
For more information about the impact of social media on our mental health, please check out the following internet articles:
· New Studies Show Just How Bad Social Media Is for Mental Health by Alice B. Walton, Forbes Magazine, November 16, 2018, www.forbes.com
· Social Media and Adolescents’ and Young Adults’ Mental Health by Elina Mir and Caroline Novas, The National Center for Health Research, www.center4research.org
· Social Media and Teens: How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers’ Mental Health by Katey Hurley, LCSW, March 7, 2019, www.Psycom.com