According to a recent report from Common Sense Media, teens are spending an average of about nine hours on social media daily and this does not include what they may be using at school.
Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have become an integral part of teenager’s lives, something that many teens feel they can’t live without. One of the more negative sides of social media use is how these media are serving to influence a teen’s personal body image.
Proud 2 Be Me, is an online community that was created by teens for teens. Their goal is to promote positive body image. Proud2BeMe posed the question to their community of whether social media sites help or hurt self-esteem and body image. The answers were enlightening:
Teens indicated that it’s all about getting the coveted “like” on social media. Teens crave that positive attention. And the more likes the better. To get likes, teens, especially females, will often oversexualize themselves. One teen said, “The less clothes you have on, the more popular you are.” –-Dayton, 17.
The problem is that the more of these oversexualized pictures the teens see, the more that look becomes the norm, rather than the exception. And teens start comparing themselves to these images that they are bombarded with, resulting in a false idea of what it is normal to look like. In a way, social media is like an online beauty contest that never ends. And unfortunately, most teens feel like they can’t win this contest unless they do something drastic such as crash dieting to try to lose a lot of weight fast.
What is a parent to do about this? It’s not realistic to ban your teen from using social media. You can help combat this negative influence by encouraging your teen to share what’s on their social media accounts with you. Then you can discuss the pictures and the impact they have on our body image and self-esteem.
If your teen is struggling with body image and is engaging in unhealthy activities to alter their appearance such as extreme dieting, there is help.
At Doorways, we have caring, confidential, nutritionists and counselors on staff who are experts in teaching teens how to make healthy lifestyle choices. We offer a free consultation to any parent seeking help. Just call us at 602-997-2880.