Social media has redefined the way we connect with each other. These interactions are often inventive and positive but when used improperly, social media can have a sad and dangerous dark side. It is far easier, for example, to hurt someone on a deeper emotional level from a distance than it is face-to-face. We should all be concerned about how social media is being used but there are some coping strategies that can help as this technology continues to evolve.
Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder, a clinical psychologist who specializes in social media’s impact on teens and tweens, says today girls have a very difficult time on social media. In turn, she says, parents have an extremely hard time relating to their children’s online experiences. Teens and tweens are growing up with the technology as part of their DNA, and navigating social media often comes much more naturally to them than it does to their parents. Powell-Lunder says that gap shouldn’t last forever though, and she is hopeful for the future.
“[Right now] the disconnect is far wider because you have a group of people that are raising kids that are on such a different planet than they [tweens and teens] are,” she said. “More so than any other generation except for the Industrial Revolution…the cultural divide was huge [then] and I think this is another time…we’re catching up, we are, it’s just going to take time and years, really.”
To find out the three things parents can do to stay involved and help their children negotiate the technology, watch the video below.
Nancy Jo Sales, author of the book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, says the technology has redefined childhood.
“The technology is new, it’s creating a new environment in which kids have constant access to each other,” she said. “They’re in constant communication.”
She says there are many ways in which the community can get involved to help tweens and teens handle this new world. In the video below the author discusses how she feels schools, parents, and social media companies can do their part.
Helping to regulate content on social media is also something anyone can do from the comfort of their own home. In just a brief Facebook search, for example, 1010WINS.com found two posts that seemed to conflict with Facebook’s Community Standards.
“This type of content violates our standards,” Facebook said in a statement to 1010WINS.com. “We work quickly to remove it when it is reported to us.”
Facebook also has a “Bullying Prevention Hub” with resources that can help to empower its users.
It’s YOUR Turn To Make A Difference
Girls Inc. of NYC did it, now 1010WINS.com wants you to join the empowerment movement and share your story by taking part in our social media campaign. Just post a 10-second video to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag, #IDecide, and tell us how you decide to empower yourself both online and offline. We look forward to hearing your story!
If you, or someone you know, would like more information on how to navigate today’s social media world, please visit the following links:
- iKeepSafe: Parents Guide To Facebook
- StaySafeOnline.org’s Parent Resources
- HelpGuide.org’s Dealing with Cyberbullying
- Stomp Out Bullying’s Tip Sheet
- WebMD: What Parents Must Know About Social Media
- Common Sense Media’s FAQ About Social Media
- KidPower’s How To Prevent And Stop Cyberbullying
- Body-Shaming: What Is It & Why Do We Do It?