Posted on September 19 2019
If you are the mother of a tween or pre-teen heading for that wonderful (and challenging) part of their life, you’re probably thinking about how social media may change or affect your girls. My son just turned nine, and I am already seeing his infatuation with things like Tik Tok and texting from my spare iPhone.
Social Media has evolved dramatically over the last decades. Apart from business, it’s not just about keeping up with showcasing the best photography and best moments of your life to increase your following. There are so many new and realistic filters out there that can literally turn the average young teen into a glamorous model-like celebrity with a clever app and a simple touch of a button.
So why are tweens obsessed with social media so much?
Whilst social media is a great way to communicate, tweens and teens find value in the likes, comments, and the number of followers on their account, whether it is in competition with their friends, or a way to make them feel important and express themselves. Either way, it can potentially make or break a child's self-esteem; more than us parents initially realise.
Young teens rely on social media as a way of expressing themselves as well as gaining social validation. Which is why it is important to help tweens and teens understand the importance of what is real and what is not, and that the highly curated celebrity profiles and beautiful images are not what defines someone’s real life.
Whilst it might not seem like a big deal to most of us, having the likes, shares, and comments is not something we as parents necessarily stress about. But for teens, it is often monumental!
Social media also gives tweens and teens direction into what sort of clothes to wear, activities they do, the music they listen to and so on. Teenagers follow celebrities, bloggers, and models whose content can also have an effect on their self-esteem. In between all the Photoshop and filters, it is becoming harder to determine what is real and what is not, and what is realistically attainable.
There are messages flying everywhere on what new diet to follow, what sort of hair to have, whether you need lip or cheek fillers, eyelash extensions, and any other new “additions” or "extractions" to and from your body. It is frightening! This is quickly becoming the “new normal” when really we should be teaching our children about having a positive body image and the importance of natural beauty.
We all have features we might not necessarily like about ourselves, but that doesn’t make us any less beautiful or require a NEED to fix it. While it's normal today to use filters to cover up our imperfections before we post, it's paramount to teach our kids that they are beautiful in real life, without the filters. We need to teach our children to love themselves as individuals and the bodies that they have, and there is no shame in not being perfect because, in reality, nobody is.
Before your girls (or boys) jump into the world of social media, it is important to introduce them to the dangers…
Before your kids take control of their social media accounts, Instagram in particular, it is important to explain to them about the concepts of social media and things for them to look out for to avoid cyberbullying, poor body image or low self-esteem.
Because of the immense and ever-growing power of social media, we encourage today more than ever, all parents out there to become positive role models for their kids, and embrace their natural beauty! Remind your children they are beautiful just the way they are, and that not everything they see on social media is real. Encourage them to express themselves the way they want, not what the current ‘trend’ is.
Why follow everyone’s example when YOU were born to stand out! There is only ONE you in this world and no one can take that away from you…not even the "coolest filter" ;)
xx Ilana & the My Little Silver Team
PS. Cyberbullying is a very serious matter, and it is our role as parents to talk with our children and be aware of it, if it ever takes place. There are so many incredible helplines out there to support kids and families when issues like this arise, so please seek help before it gets too much. We will cover this off in another blog post coming up so stay tuned!
A few helpful links for you and your family: