Licensed Counselor Associate
Couples and Individual Counselor
We live in the world of social media. Many of our interactions happen behind a computer or cell phone screen. We write Facebook statuses, we send out tweets, we share photos through Instagram, and talk to the universe through YouTube videos.
And why is social media so appealing? Because it provides an opportunity to be noticed. Maybe my tweet will be retweeted hundreds of times, maybe even thousands of times. People will know who I am! Maybe my YouTube video will be shared and go viral. Maybe my Facebook status will be so witty that I will get hundreds of “likes.”
And it is natural, this desire to be noticed.
Teenagers have an especially hard time drawing the line between what is appropriate to share in social media. They are more likely to be impulsive and just “go for it.” The pressure to succeed, to be popular, to “stand out” is stressful and demanding. Unfortunately, there are serious consequences for impulsivity or carelessness on social media.
As a parent, it is important that you talk to your kids about social media the same way you would talk to them about drinking, sex, and drugs.
Don’t talk to strangers or someone you don’t know. There are many predators out there, and they have figured out that social media is a great way to lure young people. If you get a friend request of someone you don’t know, even if you have several friends in common, don’t accept it. Strangers are strangers, in real life, and in social media.
Talk openly with your teen about guidelines. Make sure they are safe. Stress how important it is that they understand the implications of what they share as they are out there interacting with people across the social media world. If you are a parent and have difficulty talking with your teenager, a Christian counselor can help. They can work with you and your child to improve communication and to discuss issues that are difficult but important.
Images cc: Freedigitalphotos.net – Teenager touching like button by David Castillo Dominici and Businessman holding thumb up sign by FrameAngel