Unless you live under a rock, (or if you simply don’t care about the trends of social media); you have probably heard about a picture of an egg that has taken the internet by storm. It has recently become the most liked picture on Instagram, surpassing Kylie Jenner, and Justin Bieber alike. With a whopping 51 million likes and just over 9 million followers, this just goes to show what the essence of social media is. “How does this affect me?”, one might ask, and to you we’d say; it just does.
The Pressure of Social Media
Growing up without social media, we were exposed to magazine tabloids, music videos on MTV, and America’s Next Top Model to be our reference of beauty and societal standards. Nowadays, teenagers have Instagram. If you thought you were bombarded as a youngster with unrealistic ideals and ads feeding us the latest trends, imagine that times 95 million. That’s right, 95 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every single day.
Now, I know that your teen is not seeing all these posts at the same time but imagine being able to constantly refresh a page and see new content every single second based on an algorithm that is catered to your specific interests. Now, imagine all of this content, edited and tweaked to look the most appealing to the eye as it possibly can look. With apps like Facetune, Pixlr, Retrica, etc. we have photoshop at the tip of our fingers at all times. So how does a picture of an egg play into all of this?
Did You Know That …?
Teens feel a constant pressure to keep up with social media trends in order to remain relevant amongst their peers. We challenge you to ask your teen if they liked a picture of an egg, and why or why not? It’s interesting to think that many people liked the image simply because it was trending, and they wanted to feel like they were a part of something. This is a culture that we are accepting in our lives and in the lives of our teens. However, we (as rational thinking adults), understand where to draw the line, whereas teens become in to a world of unrealistic expectations all too easily. Nowadays, teens – and girls in particular – are so over exposed to specific ideals that it can take a hit on their self-esteem.
More time on social media links to lower life satisfaction. Overconsumption and addiction to social media is a very real problem. According to research, when people post, share, or ‘like’ something on social media, they get a rush of dopamine. Meaning, our brains “get high” from the immediate gratification that social media allows for. Receiving likes and recognition makes us feel good about ourselves. However, the opposite is also true. Not enough ‘likes’ leads to a hit on our self-esteem, and this is where this fun little game of sharing and liking becomes not-so-fun anymore. Teens are likely to delete their posts if it does not receive enough attention, you can read more on that here, where you will receive an insider look at a teens mentality surrounding social media.
So… How is a Picture of an Egg Ruining my Teens Life?
Well, it isn’t. However, the behaviour surrounding it is. Did you know that the account that posted a picture of an egg is completely anonymous? Which means that no one knows who has been able to successfully dominate Instagram. This brings up an entirely different issue on social media; the anonymity of it all. Ever heard of a “Finsta”? Otherwise referred to as a “fake Instagram” account, with a fake name. These accounts are usually made when teens have photos that they do not want to share on their main social media account.
In other words, they are selectively choosing who they want to share these images with, which means adult monitoring is almost impossible. It’s a “safe” way to post content that might be frowned upon otherwise. However, as we know, nothing on the internet is safe. And so, if your teen is posting content that future employers might not approve of, this could be problematic. Here are some interesting facts of Finstas. Unfortunately, if you ask your teen whether or not they have a Finsta account, the answer will likely be no, and seeing as how they can choose any account name they want, you might not be able to find it.
An Opportunity for Conversation
So, although a picture of an egg is not the source of all our problems, it is a good way to get the conversation going. Talk to your teen about their feelings surrounding social media, and about whether they liked a picture of an egg and for what reason? Ask them if they feel pressured, and if they have a Finsta account, and even if they say no; explain to them the dangers of the internet. Even though things are posted anonymously, everything on the internet can be traced back to them. Nothing is ever fully hidden, screenshots are taken, shared, and used for bullying purposes, etc. It is important as parents and as adults to ensure that our teens do not feel like their iPhone and Androids are taking over their lives. Here are 5 easy ways to improve your teens overall quality of mental health.
3 Ways to Help your Teens Social Media Addiction
1. No cell phones in the bedroom
I’m certain that we can all remember a time where we used our landlines at an inappropriate time. Now, imagine having a device that gives you access to everything and anything at all hours of the night. There is no real reason for your teen to have their cell phones in their rooms. So eliminate it from the get-go by implementing this rule.
2. No cell phones at the dinner table/during family outings
Sometimes it’s good to disconnect from your devices and connect with real people. When I was a teen, we had a “charging station” at the entrance of our house; we walk in, drop our phones at the charging station, and leave it alone for the rest of the evening. But if you don’t want to have to sacrifice your phone for the whole night, you can always just implement it during certain times of the day.
3. Turn off your Wi-Fi at night
Your teen won’t appreciate this one, so don’t tell them we suggested this. But if all else fails – turn your wi-fi off. Most basic data plans have limits, and no teen wants to go over their data limit, which forces them to put the phone down. If they make the decision to go over their data limit, let them know that they will be paying for it.
If you’re looking for more ways on practicing healthier social media habits, be sure to check out our blog about the Tumblr Ban and how it’s affecting the internet! Once again, a picture of an egg is not the main problem here. But it shows the behaviours we are cultivating. All in all, we as adults have to remain diligent when it comes to our teen’s consumption of social media. Nothing is every safe on the internet and it is important that we remind them of this constantly. Finally, did you like a picture of an egg? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments down below!
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