Protecting Teens from the Dangers of Social Media

Navigating the turbulent waters of social media is difficult at any age. For a teen, it might be next to impossible.

It can’t be denied that social media is here to stay. Not only is it a solid component of any teenager’s life, but it’s also used by everyone from scientists to world leaders. We are past the point where we can claim it’s unnecessary and ban our kids from participating. Like it or not, this is the world we now live in.

The Ugly World of Instagram and Snapchat

These apps may be commonplace, but that doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Many studies have shown how damaging scrolling feeds can be for both kids and adults. Along with the psychological damage that comes from comparing oneself to artificially enhanced photographs all day, there are also real, physical dangers.

If you think providing warnings for your kids is enough, think again. One client of mine spent two years educating her daughter on the dangers to prepare her to use these social apps in a safe manner. Do you know what happened? Her daughter sent half-naked pictures of herself to a strange man and then provided him with her home address.

Teen issues are common because teens don’t have the mental capacity to make smart decisions. Even the brightest and most educated of teens simply don’t have the brain development needed to keep themselves safe.

Helping Teens Find the Light

Banning your teen from Snapchat and similar apps isn’t the answer. Instead, consider investing in parental control software. There are many types to choose from, so you’ll be able to find something specific to your needs.

Along with monitoring their online activities, you should also keep an eye on who your teens are spending time with. Teens are notorious liars and schemers, so you can’t automatically trust that they’re doing what they claim to be doing. If something seems off, it might be time to sit down and have a talk.

For more help with teen issues with Instagram or other social apps, please reach out to me. I offer online mentoring services that can help teens gain a better understanding of how to recognize online predators and other threats.

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