Lots of parents worry about the potential negative impacts of social media on children’s self-esteem. Unfortunately, reliable evidence is sketchy in this still-shifting and developing terrain. There have been some appalling cases where children and teens have been influenced by online content promoting self-harming, for example. But many teens also say that social media is a source of support and connection for them.
If you are worried about the impact of social media on your child’s wellbeing, or want sensible advice on how to limit the impact of social media on family life or on how to talk about these concerns with your child, I’ve put together a few of my favourite resources to get you started.
- The best article I have read so far is Social Media and Self-Doubt on the Child Mind Institute website. This perfectly captures the “perfect storm of self-doubt” that is the teenage years and how this can be amplified and intensified by social media. It also has some useful tips for parents.
- Your first place to visit if you want information about a specific social media platform is Internet Matters. This is a real treasure trove of tips for parents about all things digital and technical.
- If you are worried that your child is being bullied on social media, then Family Lives has a good guide on what to do about cyberbullying.
- Young Minds has published a Guide for Parents on the key messages we need to give our children about social media and online interactions – a great place to start for those of you with younger children who are just starting to think about this topic. Parents of younger children will also find lots of general online safeguarding tips via UK Safer Internet Centre.
- ReachOut (a brilliant Australian website for parents of teenagers) has a quick read summary for parents of teenagers on FOMO and why social media is so important for teenagers.
- And if you are tempted to think that the solution is to follow your teen on social media and interact with them there, then check out this clip of young people talking about how embarrassing parents can be online!
If you are worried about your child’s self-esteem, try these tips on building children’s self-esteem. You can also take a wider view of the topic with these ideas for Creating a mentally healthy family life and Positive parenting in the digital age.
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