For teenagers today, social media permeates virtually every aspect of their lives. It’s how they socialize with others, vent about their feelings, or merely say whatever is on their minds. This can be a positive thing, providing teens with support, community, and an outlet for self-expression, which are all healthy and beneficial to their lives.
Unfortunately, social media also has many damaging aspects as well, as many stressed out parents can attest to. It was difficult enough in the past for parents to maintain control over their teenager’s lives and protect them from danger or harm. With the emergence of social media, this job becomes even more difficult for parents, as their children sustain a whole other life through such social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter that parents often know very little about.
One potential danger of social media is the fact that it allows all who use it to be easily connected to one another. Anyone at any point can reach out to your child. Because of this, parents should warn their children not to accept friend requests from or speak to strangers on social media, the same way they were told to avoid strangers in person. The threat of strangers is even larger with social media since there is no way to know if the person on the other end is who they claim to be.
Another danger of social media is that it enables personal information to be displayed readily for the public. You would be amazed how much information can be gathered about someone over the web. To counteract this, parents should ensure that their children utilize all the available privacy restrictions at their disposal. For example, there is an option to ensure that Facebook posts are only visible to a select group of friends, as opposed to the public at large.
It is also important as a parent to speak to your teen and make sure they understand the major consequences that inappropriate behavior on social media can have. With just a click of a button, they could potentially destroy their reputations or post something that they will deeply regret afterwards. Once something is posted on social media, it is implanted into the digital world and cannot be taken back, even if deleted.
Social media can also be used as a tool for bullies to insult and humiliate others on a much larger scale than they were able to in the past. It is easier for bullies to cause damage to others when they are behind a computer screen than when they are insulting someone in person.
The emergence of social media is a scary concern for parents of teens, who may worry that their child’s lives and well-being are now out of their reach and control. Luckily, there are means to ease this stress and protect your child from the dangers of social media.
Glenn Wolff is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing psychotherapy and counseling services to children, adolescents, adults, and families, with a special interest and expertise in the treatment of adolescents and young adults. The modalities of treatment include individual therapy, group therapy for children and teens and group therapy for adults.
Contact Glenn Wolff at Wolff Psychotherapy, at 203 249 3313 for a complimentary phone consultation to discuss your concerns and determine if working together will be helpful for you. Or you can visit our website at http://wolffpsychotherapy.com.