What Drives Your Teen: Social Media Or Genuine Interest

What Drives Your Teen Social Media Or Genuine Interest

If there was ever any doubt that social media has a profound impact on teens science has managed to eradicate it. Studies have shown that social media interaction can directly interfere with a teenager’s brain, activating certain sections that regulate things like mood with every ‘like’ click.

With social media being such a large part of daily life for the average teen you could be forgiven for wondering if they do anything out of interest anymore. They show their hobbies on Instagram but are they really enjoying it, or just showing off?

This is, to me, an example of where we have to guide our teens as they continue on a path of increased social media use and presence.

The Curse of Too Much Attention

Think of that person on Facebook you are jealous of. You know the one: they are always posting gorgeous travel photos, images of their perfect fiance, party photos from their beach side house. You don’t know them well; maybe they went to high school with you, or were a former coworker, or a distant cousin. Whatever the case, they have the perfect life you always dreamed of.

What you don’t see is the credit card debt from that trip, the fights with their fiance about the explicit text messages to their ex, or the fact that their house is well outside of their means and they are at risk of losing it.

Social media is a fantasy land where nothing is as it seems. People can put their best face forward and get the attention and validation they crave, all from an image that was never real to begin with. As adults we see it all the time and are guilty of perpetrating the same perfect self-image that shows who we so badly want to be.

Teenagers are faced with the same dilemma. They post pictures of them and their friends, show of the cool hobbies they take part in and show the world their perfect life. Their failed math test, recent breakup with their first love and parent’s divorce doesn’t make the cut.

Fun for Fun’s Sake

You can help them to break from this pattern. Start taking them to do fun things but leave the phones at home. Encourage them to take part in their hobbies and activities without posting about it on their profiles. Make them focus on what they love, not what they want people to see.

As their parent you will be giving them a valuable lesson in moderating their own behavior on the social web.

Find out more at Parent Learning Center.

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