Instagram | Girl | Teen | 07th October 2021 | Virtual Wire
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The explosion of social media has created an obsessive culture that is not healthy for teenagers. The internet culture today has largely shifted towards online identity rather than personal or professional worth.
Why are Teen Girls so Obsessed with Instagram?
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It's almost like people feel like they need to be perfect on social media because it's the only place where their outward appearance counts for something, which leads people to act out different versions of themselves online. Social media also gives people an easy way of escaping reality by leading them into endless amounts of digital addiction. Instagram is linked with increased anxiety, depression, bullying, and FOMO (fear of missing out). Teen girls are more likely than boys to use social media as a means of validation and acceptance. The tendency to compare their own lives with others leads to teen girls developing a compare and despair attitude. The inundation of filtered and altered images weighs heavily on young minds as they begin to create their own identity.
Why Should You Be Concerned About Your Teen Girl Using Instagram!
Social media platforms such as Instagram have been steadily increasing their influence in the lives of teenagers. While this may seem like a positive thing to many, many adverse effects come with this trend. Many mental health professionals believe that too much screen time harms the mental health of teenagers and young adults. The average teen girl spends around 9 hours a day on social media. Excessive screen time can increase their anxiety and depression, affect their body image and self-esteem, and make them more susceptible to bullying.
Why Does My Teen Daughter Have Such Low Self- Esteem?
Teen girls are going through a lot in the 21st century. They must take care of their social media, careers, and family all simultaneously. But what they also must take care of is their mental health. Self-esteem is a significant part of a teen girl's life, and it affects her in many ways. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists depression as a leading cause of illness and disability worldwide. Mental health is a significant concern beginning with children as young as ten years old and can have last consequences well into their adult lives. Media influence, pressure to conform, sexual exploration, and increased access to technology can all contribute to teenage stress that leads to depression and anxiety.
How Does Instagram Usage Lead to Negative Self Talk?
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In the age of social media, it is not hard for a person’s self-esteem to be put down or made fun of, especially when they are in their teenage years. According to a recent study, heavy social media use by teen girls between the ages of 14 and 17 was associated with negative impacts on body image for teen girls. There is a dramatic decrease in self-esteem and body concept for teen girls between 11 and 14. Feelings of anxiety and depression are also linked with poor sleep patterns, with teens sleeping less than five hours a day. Poor mental health can lead to conditions that disrupt teens' lives outside of social media.
When you log in to Instagram, your feed is flooded with beautiful people doing the most exciting activities. It is expected that only aesthetically pleasing photos will be shared on the gram. Pictures are filtered and adapted to depict a concept that will draw in more viewers. For adults, we may look at a picture of an Instagram Model and recognize that alterations have been made. We can see that a thigh gap has been airbrushed in, or blemishes have been filtered out. Teen minds think more on the surface. They usually just take images at face value.
The harm comes when teens use these altered images compared to their natural life bodies. When teens feel like they don’t measure up to the images they see, they often engage in negative self-talk. Negative self-talk is trash-talking yourself. When you look at a picture and say, “Why do my thighs touch so much? I am so fat!” That is an example of negative self-talk, and over time it helps contribute to poor self-esteem by lowering how you value yourself.
How Do I Help My Teen Combat Negative Self-Talk?
There are several ways to help your teen turn down the volume on their inner critic and start to learn how to love themselves.
Call It Out
It's not uncommon for us to have negative thoughts running around in our heads. That is entirely normal, especially for teens trying to figure out who they are. The issues start to pop up when you begin to dwell on the negative. Keeping a journal of daily thoughts will help your teen figure out if they are too fixated on the bad stuff. It also will allow them a space to recall good ideas.
And I Will Call Her Patricia- Name Your Critic
Patricia, get out of my head. No, this is not Split, and there is not another personality living in my brain. However, psychotherapists believe that there is benefit in putting a name on those critical voices that may overwhelm you. Calling your negative thoughts by name may help your mind associate that those disturbing thoughts aren’t you. Patricia is a hater, so why should you believe what she says? Stop listening and lock her back in the box.
It's All About Perspective, So Let's Talk About It
Baby pictures are entirely off-limits because those are goldmines for embarrassment. My teenager is so concerned that I will post an unflattering picture of them online where their friends can see it. They see these images as cringeworthy, but I see them as cute reminders of simpler times as a mom. We have a different perspective. Rather than looking at an image and letting negative thoughts overwhelm you, talk about it. My kids and I discuss our feelings over pictures, so they don’t build up to stressors in either of our lives. Don’t let negative self-talk drown your mind. Talk to a friend or family member about how these thoughts make you feel.
That’s My Best Friend- Be Your Own Best Friend
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One of my favourite quotes is, how can you love anyone if you don’t love yourself first? There is so much truth in that. Most of us do not go out in the world and make nasty comments about others. If someone wears ugly dresses, we don’t stop them on the street and talk about their poor fashion choices. That just doesn’t happen. So if you wouldn’t say nasty things to others, why do you tell them to yourself? Hyping yourself up and celebrating what makes you unique does not make you self-centred. By focusing on what makes you great and being your own best friend, you can tell Patricia bye-bye! Positive self-talk is healthy.
Keep It Real
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Most importantly, be honest with yourself. I may shop at Victorias Secret, but unfortunately, I will probably never be a VS Angel, which is fine by me. When I listen to my Spotify playlist in my head, I sound like an R&B diva, but in reality, there will not be any record labels knocking on my door. That still will not stop me from belting out some Mariah at the top of my lungs in my car. maybe Keep your expectations of yourself realistic. Unrealistic goals just set you up for negative self-talk to creep right on in your head. Strive to be the best you, not the best Instagram Influencer.
What you see on the gram maybe that influencer's reality, but it isn’t yours, which is ok. Social media is a fantastic tool for self-expression and creativity. For teens, overuse of social media platforms like Instagram can lead to negative self-talk and ultimately poor mental health. As a parent, you can encourage your teen to overcome negative self-talk by encouraging them to recognize their negative thoughts, talk them out and set realistic expectations in their lives.