We were not born with a need for social media, but we do have a universal need to maintain our self-esteem at the same level or, preferably, to increase it. The link between social media usage and the decrease in self-esteem draws attention to how we have allowed social media to determine our value.
Studies have revealed that social media has a negative impact on our children’s self-esteem. The usage of social media has led to symptoms of depression and anxiety. While everyone has their reasons for using social media, it is no doubt that children are getting addicted to social media.
These are some of the commonly known social media platforms:
Here is how social media can affect your child’s self-esteem.
1. Unattainable perfection.
With the constant line of aesthetic photos and videos appearing on your children’s Instagram feeds, this finds them falling into the trap of comparison. Your children may wonder: “Why doesn’t my life look like hers? How does she balance her social and school life? I can’t seem to do it”.
Perhaps Steven Furtick summed this up perfectly: The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.
Your children may be unaware that most people only present their ‘best selves’ online, and as a result, they place similar expectations on their personal lives and when they do not achieve it, they feel a lack of worth.
2. Likes = Value.
As social creatures, we need approval. Especially in today’s society, the like button on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms dictate how people view their self-worth. Even for children, their worth is dependent on the number of likes they get. Self-esteem begins when our children are young, and develops over time. It is natural to want ‘likes’, but it is first important that your child is comfortable in his or her value.
Perhaps Instagram’s latest feature of hiding personal likes can curb our society’s obsession of the link between ‘likes’ and personal worth. For now, helping your child to nurture a healthy self-esteem will prevent their obsession with ‘likes’.
3. Fake it till you make it.
Our social media profiles have now become an extension of our identity, taking away our realities. A study has shown that only more than a quarter of men and women exaggerate or fake their lives on social media.
We feel the need of posting fictional perfect lives because we believe our real lives are not interesting. Similarly, it is natural to want ‘likes’, but if your child is trading his or her life for a fictional one, his or her self-esteem will suffer as a result.
With that, social media can be a good tool, if used moderately. The higher your child’s obsession with social media, the higher the likelihood your child will feel a lack of self-esteem.
So what’s important is to educate our children on what is worth valuing their self-esteems by – themselves.