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How to raise a confident daughter in the age of social media

It is becoming a norm for teenagers to take a selfie after each activity. As a society, we are all getting obsessed with the number of likes, shares and comments.

For many young girls, what starts off as a fun selfie image can turn into an obsession of needing approval. Some would even go to the extent of using selfie-apps that can completely alter the way they look. 

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I remember when I was growing up I would compare myself to models in traditional magazines. But it was not so bad since the magazines were published only once a week. Hence, I rarely saw it or thought much about it.

But nowadays instant access to Instagram and everyday people looking like models all the time makes you wonder if you are ever good or beautiful enough.

As a grown lady and a mum, I sometimes find myself looking at other mums on Instagram, how perfect they look even early in the morning.

I can only imagine how hard it must be for young girls who constantly look at other girls and their perfect selfies popping on their news feed all the time.

Children’s online safety book- teach them about internet safety from a young age. For 3 -10 years old

There have been numerous reports on the effect of social media on teens. Especially on young girls. A survey conducted by Common Sense Media found that girls are particularly  vulnerable :

  • 35% are concerned about being tagged in unattractive pictures.
  • 27% feel stressed about how they look in posted photos.
  • 22% felt terrible when an image of themselves is  ignored.

How kids seek approval on social media apps

You might be familiar with apps like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat. But kids use these apps in different ways to receive feedback from their followers. A recent article by Common Sense Media found the following :

Instagram: People get obsessed with the number of followers and likes. This can turn into a competition with many users asking for likes. There are “beauty pageants” on Instagram where the loser receives a big red X on their photo.

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Snapchat: There are scores that display the number of chats that have been received. Users can keep tab of their friend’s scores and who is receiving the highest rank.

Youtube Videos, Am I pretty or ugly: you can find many girls posting videos of themselves asking users what they think on how they look. Many of these videos are public, which means anyone can comment on it.

Tik Tok : Users can see how many times their videos have been viewed, shared and the number of chats it has received.

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Social media encouraging people to be more real

Although the need for approval is constantly influencing young girls on social media, there are also initiatives that aim to tackle this problem.

Movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp have helped change the way we view women – and ourselves

Recently a “no-filter-trend” is urging girls to share their images without being filtered.

It even then turn into a challenge which then prompted other challenges like “#nomakeup” selfie and “#epicfails” which is about people who attempted a perfect selfie but failed in achieving it.

Here is an example of a #nomakeup

View this post on Instagram

Today I received a message from a beautiful young teenage girl saying : ‘Your life is so perfect ‘. Which made me laugh – because nothing could be further away from the truth this week. I call my Instagram ‘my sunshine journal’ ☀️ My storage place for sunny days and amazing memories. This week had remained empty as it has been a week full of tears, frustration, snot, heartache and sickness. I’ve been wearing the same black jumper all week – been eating 100% white (preferably fried) carbs, and I only left the house for work meetings I couldn’t cancel and to taking Albert for walks. Instagram is an amazing tool in so many ways – yet it often leads us to a twisted view of how life is suppose to look like. So this is me trying to balance it out. 100% real and ‘naked’ – As a first. In my teenage years I struggled with severe acne, which to this day stills makes me uncomfortable showing my naked face. But this is me. Makeup free and filterless. Not everyday or week is gonna be perfect , amazing or ‘ instagramable’ But it’s okay. Because in the end : You are the sky – everything else is just the weather. And when it’s cloudy – remember to keep a sunshine journal somewhere☀️💗

A post shared by Solveig Eike (@pilotsolveig) on

 

Children’s online safety book- teach them about internet safety from a young age. For 3 -10 years old

These trends are encouraging people to be more real on social media. A study conducted by Common Sense Media found that social media can be a place to tackle unrealistic expectations on a person’s appearance and stereotypes.

This just shows you that social media can be a place where young girls can build a real and meaningful relationship and can even reinforce self-confidence.

But when the use of social media is unsupervised and when kids use it without being guided it can be a place of destruction. Hence it is important to not let your kids wander on any social media app by themselves as it can fuel self-doubt.

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What you can do to raise confident kids in the age of social media

 

1. Remind your daughters they are perfect as it is : 

Let your girl know that everyone is different. Comparing themselves to others they follow on Instagram will not get them anywhere.

Remind them that not everyone is as ‘perfect’ as they seem on Instagram.

Give them self-confidence so they will not allow the number of likes define who they are.

 

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2.Talk about the pictures they post : 

Removing pimples and doing a simple alteration to a picture is not a new concept. We do that with important images that we want to cherish.

But to start altering pictures to a level that teens no longer look like themselves can be a warning sign of self-esteem issues they may be facing.

Talk to them about the pictures they post and how they feel about it.

3.Positive role model : 

Be a good role model for your kids. If your daughters see you constantly filtering your pictures or making 100 attempts for a perfect selfie, they will be influenced to do the same.

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4. Talk to them about body image

Build a positive environment in which your child feel confident about themselves.

But once your child hits puberty they can start feeling anxious about the way they look. Some girls can even go to the extent of developing unhealthy behaviours like eating disorders.

Don’t be afraid to talk about the scary stuff. I showed my niece a Youtube video about a girl sharing her experience about bullying and eating disorder.

We both cried at the end of the video and had a long discussion about what a woman body can do instead of what it should look like.

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5. Be supportive of other women instead of tearing them down

Encourage your daughters to not criticise other women or their friends.

Instead, teach them to be a supportive friend.  This can help them get away from the mindset of competition and looking down on others.

Check out the website  Representation Project that encourages the importance of positive body image and valuing other women.

 

Here are tips to you keep children safe in the digital age : 

Tips for Non-Tech Savy Mums :4 tips to digital parenting for non-tech savy mums

Stop kids from being datafied : Are your children datafied from birth

3 dangerous places for children to be online : 3 places kids should have limited internet access

Finally don’t forget click below:  

Children’s online safety book- teach them about internet safety from a young age. For 3 -10 years old

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