How do we protect our children from social media-related insecurities?
Posted August 28, 2018
As parents, we are constantly bombarded with social media and the effect it has on ourselves as well as our children.
Dr. Antimarino was recently asked:
“My teenage daughter uses Snapchat and Instagram all the time. How can I protect her from social media-related insecurities?”
His response was this:
As we all know, social media can be an entertaining platform to communicate with one another, educate, or simply keep up with current trends. However, we have also seen the other side of social media that involves bullying or harassment which can negatively impact a person’s self-esteem. As a parent myself, the ability to help my teenagers navigate through the sometimes perilous waters of social media can be a challenging ordeal.
As a plastic surgeon, I also recognize how important it is to teach self-awareness and kindness to ourselves and those around us. It is easy to get caught up in the appearance of perfection on social media as we mindlessly filter and distort the reality of each image posted. I find that most people are not even aware that the photo they are looking at has most likely been altered in some fashion, which for young people can greatly affect the way they view themselves.
As adults, I think it is important to encourage the younger generation to embrace who they are and recognize that there is more to defining themselves than the exterior we present to the world through our social media accounts. We are each unique and as a plastic surgery specialty, our goal is to help patients achieve a realistic change that fosters an improvement in their self-confidence. Social media can lead to a form of reality distortion that is evidenced in some of the latest body shape goals. It is difficult as a plastic surgeon to help patients maintain a realistic body image rather than what is seen on social media. The reality of what is viewed on social media is not necessarily what meets the eye.
My best advice in protecting our children from social media-related insecurities is to provide a strong support system in the home. I encourage you to have open communication about what they are looking at on social media, random conversations about what they like about themselves with positive reinforcement, and most importantly, to be available and just listen.