Social media has been an incredible asset to society, improving the way we communicate, connect, and share our lives with others. While it has its benefits, it also negatively impacts our lives, especially those of young teens.
Teenagers' brains are still developing, making these years crucial to establish healthy boundaries with technology and social media. This helps them bypass addictive tendencies such as endless scrolling.
With the rise of influencers on social media, there is a flood of unrealistic expectations set upon teens, bringing pressure to look perfect and keep up with the latest trends. This can be overwhelming and detrimental to the healthy development of teen girls and their journey into adulthood.
Self-Esteem in Teenage Girls
Building your daughter's self-esteem in the right direction is very important. You want them to be empowered and love themselves for who they are and how their body looks. But it is often challenging to develop these characteristics.
Body image and self-esteem are some of teenagers' top mental health concerns. Their bodies are changing; they are coming into their own individuality and becoming their most critical of themselves and others.
Children are so heavily influenced by their peers and society that they gravitate towards unreachable goals. The pressure to fit in and be accepted in their online and in-person social circles can lead to anxiety, depression, and even eating disorders.
Social Media & Self-Esteem
Teen girls are bombarded with images from peers, influencers, and celebrities with idealized bodies, flawless skin, and perfectly curated lives. These images add so much weight to the self-expectation to be perfect and popular that it is no wonder teen girls struggle with self-esteem issues.
They look at these individuals and aspire to be just like them, to dress like them, and have a lavish lifestyle full of parties, friends, and perfectly petite bodies without understanding that most posts shared online are merely curated snapshots. Sadly, this constant comparison to social media negatively impacts their mental health and well-being.
In reality, these influencers are not all that they appear, and because they do not showcase this other side of the coin, teenagers convince themselves of unrealistic body image ideals. These unrealistic expectations and unlimited access to various forms of technology can cause self-esteem to drop significantly.
"Low self-esteem has been associated with a number of psychological, physical, and social consequences that may influence successful adolescent development and the transition to adulthood, including depression, anxiety, suicide and disordered eating, violent behavior, earlier initiation of sexual activity (in girls), and substance use.
Recent research also suggests that low self-esteem in adolescence may be a harbinger for poor longer-term outcomes, such as fewer years of post-secondary education, greater likelihood of joblessness and financial difficulties, as well as poorer mental/physical health and higher rates of criminal behavior." [link]
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries with social media can powerfully affect our self-esteem and personal relationships. By limiting the time spent scrolling through our feeds, teens can avoid the negative effects of constant comparison and the pressure to present a perfect image online. This, in turn, can help us feel more confident and secure in ourselves, leading to stronger and more authentic connections with others.
Additionally, being intentional about our social media use can help us prioritize our time and energy, allowing teens to focus on the things that truly matter in our lives. By not constantly checking phones during quality time with loved ones, teens can be fully present and attentive, leading to closer and more fulfilling relationships.
Overall, establishing healthy boundaries with social media is an important step toward cultivating a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
Uinta Is Here to Help
Parents and educators need to play a role in educating teens about the dangers of social media and how to use it in healthier ways. We at Uinta work hard to reconnect your daughter with herself and boost her self-esteem to where it should be.
To help students reset their self-perception, students do not use personal cell phones or laptops for the first three weeks of our program. After this reset, staff and therapists work with each student to healthily re-introduce social media into their life.
We work with them individually to help them understand their unique strengths and struggles. We empower them to be confident, resilient, and proud of who they are.
Uinta Academy is a residential treatment center serving youth-assigned female at birth ages 12-20 who struggle with attachment issues, mood disorders, maintaining interpersonal relationships, and/or healing after trauma. Uinta's equine-assisted psychotherapy, trauma-informed therapy, research-based therapeutic milieu, and accredited academic program promote long-lasting change.
A safe place for emotional growth.
Lanae is the Admissions and Outreach Director at Uinta Academy. She has worked in Residential Treatment Center’s for over 10 years in a variety of roles including primary therapist, program director, program development and implementation, admissions, transition coach and aftercare specialist.