“Put this on YouTube and it will go viral”, isn’t just heard from teens. Even little kids are telling their parents to share their funny videos online, and from a young age, they know the value of ‘likes’ and shares. The currency of social media likes, and the way it affects children’s self-esteem is a problem that worries parents and teachers around the world.
If you believed the headlines about the social networking site Instagram and self-esteem, you’d snatch the smartphone from your daughter and never let her open the photo-sharing app ever again. “Most depressing social network”, “killing your self-esteem”, “Instagram Envy!”… were just a few of the articles I found when searching for information.
More than any other network, Instagram is criticised as a social media site that damages self-esteem. It is creating a generation of selfie-obsessed teen girls, whose only aim is to receive at least 100 likes on their uploaded photos. When their photos aren’t valued by their peers, the girls develop self-esteem issues, which damage them in other areas of their life.
It all sounds pretty scary, but what is the truth behind the headlines, and what can parents do to help their children to use Instagram to boost their confidence rather than dent it?