Social media has exploded over the last decade. When I was a little girl, social media didn’t exist, and technology was around of course, but it wasn’t a huge factor (at least in my life). Every day, I would play outside with my neighbors, climbing trees, riding bikes and roller skating, playing pretend and playing flag football in the street. These are all activities that are good for kids: they give them exercise, social interactions, raised self-esteem, increased creativity, and healthy friendships.
Today, social media is a huge part of a teenagers’ life. Living through social media is the complete opposite: there is no physical activity, and children aren’t learning how to communicate with peers or make valuable friendships. Self-esteem is usually negatively affected because most of the images on social media are edited, processed through Photoshop and just unrealistic. Subsequently, creativity becomes lacking with kids expecting instant gratification, meaning they instantaneously want a response or an expectation.
This isn’t how the real world works, and social media is not preparing kids for a world, which requires communication, people skills and strong-willed personalities, to accomplish life goals, such as getting good grades in college, applying and getting into grad school, or competing for a promotion at your job.
It is important to teach our youth the importance of outside play and making valuable friendships with people in real life and not just over the internet or social media. And to understand that social media is a facade, it is whatever you want it to be. It will lie to you and trick you into believing you are valuable because you have over a thousand likes. But in truth, that doesn’t make you who you are, so it is important to teach our kids the true meaning of life; including things that are tangible, such as their family values and friendships.