In the past, teens developed friendships and relationships in person and over the telephone. There was no Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and other such social media sites, let alone smartphones.With the advance to technology, teenagers today have access to more technology than previous generations. It is easier for teens to remain in contact with each other, constantly, as well as develop virtual-online friendships with other teens from all around the world.
However, the rise of social media has created a “double-edged sword,” so to speak, as it not only can be beneficial for teens to develop strong personal connections with their peers, but also can lead to online bullying, harassment, and other such problems. Social media has become a forum for teenagers and their peers to air their feelings and thoughts about everything of importance to them, from the latest clothing styles to what they are currently doing.
As such, it creates situations where their peers might start to judge and label their friends because they are doing something the majority of teens in their social networks may find different. Additionally, your teen knows immediately the types of responses they have received from their posts, both positive and negative. They also know when they have been left out of various activities their friends are participating in, like going to the movies or having a party.
Further, social media opens up the opportunity for embarrassing situations, harassment, and bullying. A picture or video of your teen in an embarrassing situation could easily end up being posted on social media. From there, not only could their peers post negative comments, but it could potentially open the door for others to anonymously post derogatory, hurtful, and disparaging comments about someone they might not even know.
In addition, the need to be constantly connected to online social media sites and know exactly what their friends are doing every moment, creates other concerns for parents. Some parents might feel their teen is no longer communicating with them and sharing their deep, personal feelings, like they used to do. In some cases, this is simply normal teenage development. In other cases, parents need to be concerned and develop effective methods for communicating with their teenagers, while at the same time, avoid pushing them further away.
Keeping the lines of communication open and letting your teen know you are there for them whenever they need someone is sometimes challenging for parents because they are not sure what to say or how to say it in such a way their teen will listen. Talking to a licensed therapist in Toronto can help you learn how to effectively communicate with and relate to your teen.
For single parent therapy or couples therapy to address parenting concerns you have with your teen, or other relationship issues, contact Ellen Starr marriage counseling at 416-488-3102 today.