Wellness Wednesday: Talking to Teens About Social Media
Social media has become the central focus of our everyday lives. Sharing announcements, checking up on distant family and scrolling online through the boredom are almost second nature. Younger people and adolescents are some of the most reliant on social media, and while online sites can be useful, if used incorrectly they can be harmful. For this week’s Wellness Wednesday, Lauren English, a licensed professional counselor and business development representative with Pinnacle Pointe Hospital, explains to parents how to talk to their teens about being safe and mindful while on social media. English shares that a recent survey revealed that 45 percent of teens are almost constantly online, and 97 percent of teens use social media platforms. Knowing what’s appropriate to post and when to use discretion is something that English believes both adults and teens can learn about, so she has provided a few questions for parents to discuss with their teens to ask themselves before posting online.
How am I feeling right now?
Before making a post or comment, it’s important to understand where your emotions are coming from. English says that if you’re feeling angry or upset, it’s probably best to wait until you’re in a better mindset to post online.
Is this information I’m OK with everyone knowing?
Social media allows people to be vulnerable in front of a large number of people. You may not know everyone in your followers or friends lists, so it’s always good to make sure that the information you’re sharing is something you don’t mind the internet knowing.
Is this cyberbullying?
English emphasizes that anything harmful or hurtful should not make it onto social media. If someone you are close to and trust would tell you not to post the comment, then it’s safe to say you shouldn’t.
Is this something I might regret in the future?
Social media posts can follow you years after you post them. English shares that any teens looking to go to college or get a job someday need to be extra careful about what they post and whether it is the message they want to be sending.
Is this the best way to communicate?
Social media is often used to express feelings, deal with conflict and attack others. These are not healthy ways of approaching situations, so English encourages teens to take a step back before they post or comment and consider talking to that person directly.
Being aware of your own social media habits can be beneficial to you and your children and teens, so always remember to be mindful.