Keeping Kids’ Self-Esteem in Check in a Digital World

Can Facebook really put a ding in your self-esteem? According to a recent study—yes.

In the study, conducted by Humboldt University in Berlin and Technical University in Darmstadt, German researchers found that of the 600 Facebook users polled, a third (one in three) of the respondents reported feeling negative after being on Facebook.

Constantly seeing friends’ vacations, love lives and accomplishments on Facebook can cause envy and trigger feelings of misery and loneliness, according to researchers.

If this is so for adults using Facebook can you imagine how kids and teens must feel online? As a parent, you’ve likely spent a great deal of time building your child’s self esteem and celebrating her uniqueness. However, a few flip comments online or not getting the expected “likes” or “comments” on her new outfit, can leave a child feeling “less than” and falling into an endless trap of comparison.

While you can’t shield your child from everything online, you can definitely help her survive her online circles with healthy emotions in tact.

Here are 3 powerful ways to guard your kids’ self-esteem online:

  1. Refresh their perspective. Take the time (repeatedly) to remind your child that people only post the positive and that every person on the planet experiences failure, disappointment and bad hair days!
  2. Affirm acceptance. Everyone from old to young is looking for acceptance and a sense of belonging. Send your child a strong message that she is accepted, and has unique qualities. Listen and ask questions to show you care about her interests and ideas. In short, develop a relationship with your child that transcends the online world; one in which they rely on for true perspective and belonging.
  3. Balance your own digital life. Model balance and emotion while you are online. Look at your kids when they are talking to you and don’t let social media monopolize your attention. This affirms to your child that she is important and that you personally have put social media in its proper perspective.

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