Being on Facebook Can Lower Self-Esteem

Psychologists from The University of Queensland in Australia just published a series of studies that showed a correlation between people’s level of activity on social media sites and their sense of well-being. Participants whose Facebook posts didn’t receive responses felt ignored, sometimes “invisible,” and less important as a result of this experience. Clearly, these are some of the potential detriments of being on social media. These studies suggest that teens and tweens, who typically expect immediate responses to the texts they send their friends and the messages they post on each other’s Facebook walls, may be vulnerable to losses in self-esteem if they feel similarly ignored or slighted. But parents can help kids to broaden their perspective. Encourage teens and tweens not to jump to conclusions about their popularity or self-worth. Discuss reasons why people don’t always respond right away on social media. Brainstorm what kids can say to themselves so they don’t take this behavior personally and continue to feel good about themselves. As always, suggest other, more satisfying ways to reach out to people they care about—for example, by phone or, even better, in person—which minimize or eliminate the ambiguities of interacting on social media.

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