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Social Media And Self Image
Social Media And Self Image
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Social Media And Self Image

Youth

Being connected to your friends, family, and everyone else online can be awesome!
However, it is easy to get caught up with feeling like life needs to be perfect and comparing ourselves to others. It can feel great when we get ‘likes’ and ‘views’, but sometimes social media can make us feel sad, depressed, or like everyone else is better than us or having more fun.

When we compare ourselves to others on social media, it can affect our self-image and make us believe who we are just isn’t good enough. Self-image is how we feel about our looks, the things we do, and who we are as individuals. It’s important to use social media in ways that helps us be confident in our unique self-image.

Social media is a place where most people post the best versions of themselves, having fun, being successful, and looking and feeling great. But remember, no one is perfect! Often people don’t share when they feel sad, lonely, or make mistakes. Some people even get paid to only post good things-like ads! It’s important to know that many of the images we see online are not real. They are created by using computer programs like Photoshop or filters to make a person look like a certain image -but it’s impossible in real life. Everyone is different and that is what makes us all special! Don’t compare your life or your self-image to others.

Its ok to take a break from social media, you can reduce your apps to just one or two and limit the time you spend randomly scrolling. Some people even delete their social media and spend time doing other things, like being with friends in real life, playing sports and games, or watching their favorite shows.

Social media affects our self-image and sometimes we don’t even realize it. Every time we scroll through an app, our eyes send picture messages to our brain, and our brain saves these images and messages as real life. Over time, we begin to compare real life to these false images stored in our brain, even if we aren’t trying to. This is one reason limiting your time on social media can make you feel more confident and have a positive self-image.

FAQs

What if I have FOMO (fear of missing out)?

Try calling or texting a friend to meet up in real life! If you have FOMO, your friends might too. Calling someone to hang out or just talk on the phone can make them feel included and is a great way to connect.

How do I know if a post is an ad?

There are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. Is there a specific product in the post?
2. Does the person tag a company or brand?
3. Is the person selling something?
4. Does the post link to another post?

If the answer is yes to any of these, chances are it is an ad-and not real life.

How much time on social media is too much?

Every person is different, but if you start to notice you feel bad about yourself or notice that you compare yourself to others when you are scrolling, it’s time to take a break and do an activity that doesn’t involve your device! If you notice that you check your device automatically-without realizing it or feel like you have to check your social media all the time, you might be developing an unhealthy habit and spending too much time online.

Parents

The internet is a great place for young people to do research for school, connect with their friends and family, play video games, or check out the latest trending videos. It’s important to remember that billions of people access the internet, so there are lots of opportunities to connect—but not everything on the internet is real. It’s important for young people to think critically while looking at pictures or videos online.

Self-image refers to person’s feelings and personal view of their abilities, appearance, and personality. Many young people feel great pressure to look, act and be a certain way; don’t underestimate how much pressure young people feel and how much self-loathing exists. Young people need help understanding that the images they see on social media are often not real. Knowing the difference between reality, advertisements, and altered photos can be challenging for everyone, especially for a young person. There are a lot of pictures on social media that have been polished or enhanced, using filters or other apps, which can be challenging to detect and damaging to our self-image. It’s impossible for anyone to live up to these images that require teams of people to create and manipulate into idealized standards of life.

It’s best to start conversations about social media early. Instead of trying to figure out what your child is doing on social media and with other technology, coach your child through each platform and strategies to think critically about what they see. With your help, your child can grow as a person by exploring the world of technology and the internet while you provide a safety net of trust to fall back on.

Conversation Starters

Here are some ways to start these conversations:

FAQs

Sit down with your child to look at funny videos or pictures.

Sit down with your child to look at funny videos or pictures, creating the space for your child to be comfortable with you and sharing online experiences.

Talk with your family at dinner about social media

Social media is so pervasive that it can be a completely natural, comfortable topic of conversation with your child. You can say something like, “Did you see how the election was all over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tik-Tok today?”

Just like we instill in our children a sense of self-worth, confidence, and self-empowerment in their everyday lives, it is just as important to have conversations about how social media can affect their self-image. Say things like, “Did you see that ad on social media today, it almost looked real?” Let them know that it can be hard to tell the difference for everyone. Discuss how celebrities make money posting; you can even look at some of your favorite celebrity’s posts together and find the ads and altered photos.

Educators

The internet is a great place for young people to do research for school, share pictures with friends, play video games or check out the latest trending videos. It’s important for young people to think critically while looking at pictures or videos online.

Self-image refers to person’s feelings and personal view of their abilities, appearance, and personality. Many young people feel great pressure to look, act and be a certain way; don’t underestimate how much pressure young people feel and how much self-loathing exists. Young people need help understanding that the images they see on social media are often not real. Knowing the difference between reality and advertisements can be challenging for everyone, especially for a young people. It’s impossible for anyone to live up to these images that require teams of people to create and manipulate into idealized standards of life.

Helping young people understand how social media advertising works, as well as the skill of thinking critically while using social media is essential. Give them plenty of opportunities in class to discuss popular posts, break-down marketing strategies used by social media companies, and to think critically with their peers about what they see. This will help them when they are scrolling on their own, in addition to helping them know how to access reliable resources in the future.

Discussion Questions

Use the following discussion questions after watching the video with your class:

What have you heard about influencers, social media ads, and filters and apps like Photoshop?
How do you know if an online post is real, an ad, or has been altered?
What are some examples of media posts that are advertisements or Photoshopped?
How can you think critically when scrolling social media?
What are some activities you can participate in when you take breaks from social media?

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