EP 10 – Dealing With Anxiety on Social Media – Tips for Parents with Kids and Teens
Anxiety on social media is by far one of the most detrimental aspects of social media. Especially for teens and kids. During the pandemic, the number of teens and kids who started using social media skyrocketed. The tools social media provides are great for increasing communication and friendship between kids there’s also a lot of immaturity that comes with it.
By Sarah Potter
April 28, 2021
Anxiety on social media is by far one of the most detrimental aspects of social media. Especially for teens and kids. During the pandemic, the number of teens and kids who started using social media skyrocketed. The tools social media provides are great for increasing communication and friendship between kids there’s also a lot of immaturity that comes with it. And this week’s episode, Sarah interviews Amanda Penny, a podcaster from the show Amanda‘s World.
The excessive use of social media over the years has left people with a higher level of anxiety, depression, isolation, and FOMO. Changing our habits in order to create a more sustainable version of ourselves online is a key aspect of this week’s episode. But we also talk about how social media plays a role in not just our own mental health but those of teens and kids.
I sat down and spoke with Amanda from Amanda‘s World. She’s a 16-year-old ADHD New Yorker with her own podcast. She’s quite an impressive individual and definitely gives me a lot of inspiration for how far so many of us can go when we set our minds to things. My interview with Amanda not only did I focus on how she started this podcast of hers and what she talks about in the people she’s met, but I also try to understand a little more about how she manages her own self on social media.
Check out the full interview with Amanda here:
Teens are subjected to cyberbullying at an alarming rate. According to the Pew Research Center, “59% of US teens have been bullied or harassed online, and a similar share says it’s a major problem for people their age. At the same time though, teams mostly think teachers, social media companies, and politicians are feeling at addressing this issue.” And they’re absolutely right, so that then makes me as a mother feel that this responsibility of ensuring the well-being of teens and kids on social media falls on us. There are so many types of cyberbullying issues online.
For example, let’s look at our own high school experiences. How often were you name called? How often did you hear false rumors spread about you? How many times did you receive explicit images that you didn’t ask for, not just from your peers but from other gross adults? How many times were you harassed by adults and peers about where you were, what you were doing, who you were with, and what you were wearing? Let’s take this a step further into the selfie generation: how many people experienced having explicit images of themselves shared with their school peers or others? Now take that online. The number of times an explicit image of a teen is shared online is exponential compared to the number of times an explicit image of a teen is text messaged. their peers and other adults constantly targeted 60% of high school girls on the Internet for harassment. 63% of teens say that the Internet and social media are an enormous problem affecting people their age.
60% of girls and 59% of boys have all experienced at least one type of the six online abusive behaviors. So being able to speak with Amanda about her experiences with cyberbullying and her own experiences of just being a general online user was really eye-opening. She not only focuses on curating and creating an online experience that makes her feel safe, but she also encourages her friends to do the same.
Amanda not only blocks people who harass her, but she also blocks some of her friends and a huge number of individuals from her school whom she knows she may have communication issues with online. She mentions that it’s nothing personal, she’s just trying to do her part in protecting her own mental health. We may think as adults that teenagers are not awake enough to online bullying, but my interview with Amanda is absolutely contrary to this belief.
Are used to work as a youth group leader and a youth program’s director when Fox was a baby. This experience taught me so much about how teens can handle and how they aren’t able to handle interactions online. Much of the issues that we discussed with many of the teams in our program were things happening on Instagram, or rumors being spread on Facebook. And even worse, explicit images being shown on Twitter.
The average teen over the last eight years has created and adapt to the changing scenes on social media and have been able to create alternative ways to protect themselves. As adults, we cannot underestimate the intelligence of our teams. They know what to do and what not to do online. But they also don’t have a lot of trust for their parents in discussing the issues they encounter on social media or online. It is up to us as adults to teach our younger kids how to handle these situations and the proper ways in which to have these discussions with us. We need to build trust with our children with social media so that they can come and share any potentially harmful situations they encounter. Without this trust between parents and child cyber bullying will continue to be a problem.
Ali and I have two very different perspectives with the use of tablets and technology with our kids. Ali is in the camp of not allowing her kids to use tablets pretty much at all. There may be some points in time where her kids can use a tablet, but ultimately their time is incredibly limited.
I am in the camp of allowing my kids to experience technology and use it to the extension which my husband and I deem appropriate. Right now we have our kids set up with three-hour limits on their tablets. That three-hour limit really only applies to some of the more game-based apps and video watching apps like Netflix. So essentially they could watch a movie, or they could play Minecraft for a few hours. After that we switch them over to the educational only based content and apps that we allow on their tablets.
Recently with the pandemic we allow her kids to have Facebook messenger for kids. This allows them to keep in contact with cousins and friends no matter how isolated they may have to be at any point in time. It’s been really helpful in continuing to bridge bonds between them and their friends. However, our daughter has had some struggles with understanding how to message people appropriately.
She likes to play Minecraft. It is absolutely her most favorite thing to do. And it often impedes her being able to communicate with her cousin. Her daughter will go a few days without interacting with her cousin or letting her know what’s going on. This doesn’t just apply to a small child, but to adults too. We don’t like to be ignored; we want to be validated, and we want to have proper communication within a reasonable amount of time. Kids just don’t understand that because kids want to do and play the things that they want to do. So helping our daughter understand how she should communicate in the time she should use to communicate with others, it’s something that we’ve taken on as a priority.
In this episode we go over so many tips and tricks that Ali and I have both used with helping our kids and any teens we’ve encountered manage their mental health on social media and how to manage their time with technology. Check out this week’s episode by listening to the clip above or click below to tune in.
Other important links to look into:
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Sarah Potter & Alli Paolone
Meet Sarah and Alli, two social media marketing consultants and digital experts who've been foraging their way since the early 2010's. This dynamic duo sasses the social media industry and sets some unspoken rules straight in this podcast on marketing, life, and all the therapy social media marketer workers need.
"We’re not here to tell you how to do your job, we’re here to validate the shit out of what you’re doing and reinforce the unspoken ground rules of social media workers everywhere," says Sarah–known for her bold and brash approach to social content.
This podcast is for more than just social media workers too. Social Media therapy is here for everyone worn out and burned by the ever-changing algorithms and forced sense of care about social platforms, and the social media rat race.
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