Who am I? Who do you want me to be? Who do I want me to be? Do my friends like me or do I need to do things so that they can like me?
I am a teenager, and I am trying to find myself in this world, I am learning new things, being exposed to things that I sometimes do not want to be exposed to…yet.
I have my own phone and my world are the Internet, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, my world is what I see and what I hear. I go to school, and I am vulnerable to everything that are “Up and Coming”, I need to fit in with it, or I will not be cool. I have challenges to face at home and at school, what am I supposed to do?
As a parent you try to protect your children, but the reality is that you cannot hide them from the internet, and you cannot control what they are being exposed to all the time.
One of the biggest challenges your children, especially teenagers, are facing now is how to handle the pressure from social media. The pressure to look a certain way or be a certain way. The “influencers” have become role models and often they show a life that is completely fake on social media, yet it is seen as the norm and what is being aspired to.
They go to school and compare themselves to each other, they ask themselves questions like:
Am I more thin or beautiful than the girl next to me, am I more pretty, does my selfie look like the girl I am following on Instagram? What do I do to look bigger, more manly? Do my friends like me because I drank with them at that party? Do I need to have sex to be part of the group? Am I cool because I have a drink in my hand like the people on Facebook?
They might think that because everyone else is doing it, that it is ok.
The fact is that there is a lot of pressure on children today, apart from the schoolwork and challenges they would normally face. They are more vulnerable to being bullied, to have low self-esteem and develop mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
Yes, parents cannot protect them against everything, but it is important to “check-in” with your children and talk to them about how they experience the world around them.