By guest author
Life Training Christian Counseling
Licensed Christian Counselor
Specialist in Counseling for Teens
Often, teens struggle with viewing themselves as less than those around them. Comparison and jealousy fuel low self-esteem and create habits of attributing personal value to opinions of those around you. Social media can be a tool for socialization and self-expression, or it can be of further detriment to your child’s view of self. Here are some things to keep in mind related to teens and social media.
The first thing we want to pay attention to when allowing our teens to use social media, or any other part of the internet, is to teach them internet safety. Be sure to adjust privacy settings so that their profile is not public. Inform them of information to not share with others, such as home address, and encourage them to only interact with individuals they know on social media. Create an open line of communication and provide a safe space for them to come with questions. Do not punish them for asking about something they’ve seen on social media. This will encourage them to hide things from you.
As mentioned before, social media can fuel patterns of comparison in a teen’s brain. Often, filters used over pictures and other’s choice to post the highlights in their life paint a picture of perfection in others. Talk to your teens about the falsehood promoted on social media. Help them understand perfection is not a realistic expectation for their lives. Encourage them to embrace their flaws and face trials head on, for these things make us human and help us grow. Remind them “the Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). This verse will help them to value their character over appearance.
Teach Them to Shine Their Light
Social media can be a way for teens to express themselves to their friends and share the Gospel of Christ. In Matthew 5, Jesus compares us to a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. He encourages us to “let [our] light shine before others, that they may see [our] good deeds and glorify [our] Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). Teach your teens to feel comfortable with sharing their faith on social media, whether it’s sharing their favorite verse, sharing pictures of nature that reminds them of God, or sharing how God is working in their lives. Using social media for positivity redirects teens from the message of comparison they are seeing online.
Set Healthy Boundaries
If you see your children are having trouble with social media, it is okay to limit their social media presence, or even remove them from social media completely. As the parent, it is your responsibility to teach your children how to make boundaries. As mentioned before, be sure to communicate with them why there is a need to remove them. Avoid shame language such as, “We’re removing your privileges because you aren’t capable of handling the responsibility.” Instead, discuss the negative effects of social media with your child and describe why time away from social media may be beneficial. Additionally, avoid comparing them with their siblings, which can sound like, “You clearly can’t handle social media like your sister.” This language can actually create resentment between your children and produce low self-worth. Each of your children are unique, and that’s okay! Focusing on the child at hand will help you walk alongside your teen at their own pace.
There is value in facilitating conversations with your teens surrounding social media. Even if they don’t have one to begin with, discussing how their friends are affected by their social media can help your teens have compassion and empathy towards others, while also recognizing the wisdom in not using social media. Teens are better at critically thinking than sometimes we realize. Through talking with your teens, you may learn something about how they are viewing the world we live in.
Counseling Can Help Teens And Their Parents Communicate About Social Media
Kayla Wright joined the counseling team at Life Training Christian Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky in May of this year. The passion of her counseling work is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Teens and pre-teens.
Kayla is nationally licensed as a Christian Counselor by the National Christian Counselors Association. She possesses an advanced board certification in Child & Adolescent Therapy. Kayla gained extensive experience and credibility in providing counseling to teens and pre-teens during her tenure on the staff of Revive Christian Counseling in Owensboro and Madisonville, Kentucky. She is highly skilled in teenage substance abuse counseling and teenage depression counseling.
Kayla Wright, as well as each of our other counselors, offers convenient sessions at Life Training Christian Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky. She also offers online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime. Please click on this link to learn much more about how our Counseling for teens and pre-teens in Louisville, Kentucky can help the child you love find the highly-effective, Christ-centered help they need. Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at email@example.com