Teens today, are actively using a variety of social media networking sites. What started out as harmless networking is now being linked to anxiety disorders by researchers. Although social media has its fair share of positives, kids are being subjected to varying degrees of oppression and complexes by signing up on social media platforms.
Whats all the anxiety about?
Kids are constantly checking or updating their various online profiles in a nervous frenzy. Surveys have shown that social media can evoke teen anxiety in many ways:
- Teens are constantly worried about who has more followers on social media platforms. Finding out that they have lesser followers than their friends, often sparks feelings of rejection or depression in them.
- Posting something online and then worrying about how it is going to be received by others, is another common emotion. An inappropriate comment or a silly picture is all it takes for them to get all worked up. The repercussions of the post could be in the form of being ridiculed by their peers or still worse, rejection.
- Being popular for all the right reasons on an online platform is another thing that pressurizes these teens. A new post can make it or break it, and they want to make the right impression. Maintaining an online profile is almost turning into a brand management of sorts.
- Teens are weighing their self-worth based on the number of likes their picture gets or the nature of comments that they receive and such. The pressure to be accepted and liked by their ‘online friends’ is fueling teen anxiety.
- Looking through their friend’s exciting party pictures, or luxurious vacation ones or ones with their fun clique, often makes these kids feel anxious that they’re missing out on all the good stuff. The comparison also sparks a feeling of inadequacy at times.
- Staying with the times and staying informed is something that’s causing a different level of teen anxiety. They’re anxious that they will miss out on that new funny hashtag that everyone’s talking about and end up looking stupid.
- Kids today, are also nervous that they might be perceived as someone with a bad taste. They fear being harshly judged for liking an unpopular brand or following an off-beat celebrity figure.
- Teens are often anxious that their parents will discover what they’re up to. While juggling through their various online profiles, they’re on a constant look out for stuff that might not go down that well with their parents. Keeping track of multiple profiles can get a little tiring.
Coping with it
It is crucial that parents consistently monitor their kids’ activity on online platforms. Being honest with them and letting them know about the same, is a good approach. Being aware of the happenings online can also reduce the occurrences of them being cyber bullied. By questioning them and listening to them in a non-judgmental way, they will feel a lot more comfortable in opening up to you and a lot less anxious.