Social Media Reality Check

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest are just a few of the more popular social media communities that allow us to connect, share and create.  With follower counts, like buttons, pins and online threads, it is hard not to be drawn in by these dynamic virtual worlds.

As I watch Essena O’Neill on YouTube (a self-made Instagram sensation) reveal her struggles with self-acceptance and the reality behind her perfect Instagram pictures,  I wonder how many people questioned their own beauty, ability and self-worth while scrolling through the countless selfies of this seemingly flawless girl.

Social pressures and artificial norms are not new, but the messages shared online have a far greater reach. Essena’s personal reflections not only show the impact social media can have on an individual, including our youth, but they also challenge us to question what we are seeing and reading online.

I cannot deny that social media is amazing in that it gives us the chance to instantly share our lives with so many people.  The flip side to this is that anything and everything, good or harmful, can go viral, with potentially negative consequences.  After scrolling through Pinterest, you may ask yourself (or at least I have), “did that mom with four children under five really make lunches that looked like farm animals this morning?” and “Is this what good moms do and am I failing my children?” bentobox

As an adult and parent, I feel the impact of social media messaging, and that is why I believe we need to talk about social media with our youth.  Children today are growing up with this virtual world that has the ability to influence their sense of self-worth, actions and life choices.   So, how do we sift through the virtual noise personally and with our children to highlight the positives (and negatives) of social media?  I am not sure I have the complete answer to this – but I know one thing for sure: we need to remind ourselves and our children that true happiness and success grows from self-acceptance and an understanding of who we are, not from the number of ‘likes’ we get on an Instagram photo.

weddingNow more than ever, parents and children need to hold on to their sense of self-worth, celebrate the assets and ideas they have to share, and always remember to ask, “is what I am seeing really as attainable as it appears, and is it really that important?”

What are you thoughts?


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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About Sarah Flynn RN

About Sarah Flynn RN, MScN. I am a wife, mother of 3 and a registered public health nurse with the school years health team. I have been nursing for 10 years and have dedicated my career to supporting children and families thrive while in the hospital and out in the community. I am passionate about positive parenting and creating healthy school communities for our youth. You can find me in schools and online. Family life and work keeps me busy and on my toes – and I love to chat about it all in my HaltonParents blogs and on Facebook!
This entry was posted in Children & Tweens, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Child/Tween, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Teen, Healthy Eating for Your Child/Tween, Healthy Eating for your Teen, Keeping Your Child/Tween Safe, Keeping Your Teen Safe, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Teen Brain, Teens and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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