As a child and teenager I was frequently described as a ‘social butterfly’. I thrived in the company of others. “If only she applied herself as enthusiastically to her studies as she does to socialising,” was common feedback from my teachers.
It would surprise none of my school teachers that I have forged a career in communications and social media!
Social media can get a bad rap, rather unfairly sometimes. We tend to hear about the negative impact it has on our lives, rather than the many positives. And this is especially concerning for parents. But here’s the thing: social media isn’t inherently bad or good. How you experience it is largely determined by the user.
As a parent of a tween or teen, you are no doubt concerned about the drawbacks and pitfalls of social media. But today I want to focus on the many benefits of social media.
Being socially connected is very important for the psychological development of your teen. Connection is currency, and while nothing can replace face-to-face connection, the digital world provides great opportunity for connection.
10 excellent benefits of social media
By connecting with others through social media, your daughter may:
- Develop better social skills (particularly for quieter, introverted types)
- Feel less isolated. Connection is a core human need which involves shared experiences, and relatable feelings/ideas
- Bond with her friends (friendships are like oxygen!)
- Gain access to a range of inspiring thought leaders, change-makers, activists, and role models.
- Strengthen creativity and confidence
- Develop real world skills to help them become more independent
- Learn about world events and current affairs
- Develop fundraisers or supporting important causes. Social media is a great vehicle for teens to make an impact in their communities
- Social Media is a vehicle for personal expression
- Have Fun! Let’s not underestimate having a bit of fun with technology.
Social media is a wonderful vehicle for personal expression.
Allow me to give you an example of Number 9. My eldest daughter is an aspiring ballerina. She lives, breathes, and dreams ballet. The online world has enabled her to connect with ballet dancers all over the world, and to watch famous ballets streaming online.
Social media can provide opportunity for meaningful interactions, particularly if your daughter’s feed is curated with ideas, images and influences that are aligned to her goals and values.
It is certainly important to keep a close eye on what kids are doing online, but you can do it in a way that is respectful and helpful.
Learn to connect with your child through technology, rather than in spite of it. If your kids are on social media, follow the same people so you can learn about their world and have genuine conversations. It will help your connection stay strong.
If you’d like more help in helping your daughter have a positive experience online, take a look at my How to THRIVE online guide (for parents and teens). It covers everything from online etiquette, curating an inspiring feed, avoiding digital dramas and generally raising safe and savvy girls online.