“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?
Who remembers the days when the “News” was broadcast at 10pm every evening, and the Sunday papers leisurely read over the course of the week? A holiday used to mean getting away from it all. No work, no phone calls, and in pre-internet days, no emails, no twitter, and certainly no breaking news. Now we have a mobile phone in our pocket, data roaming tariffs, restaurants and hotels with wifi, and so even when we are abroad, we are never out of touch.
Dedicated news channels broadcast 24/7, with flashing BREAKING NEWS and rolling tickers keeping us informed every moment of the day. But are we really informed, or does it just *feel* like it? And what do we do, when our breaking news addiction begins to impact on our health and happiness?