Is Children’s Self Worth Based on Social Media Likes?

Children on Social Media

Karren Brady raises a good point in this article about children’s self-worth being based on social media “likes”.

Going down the social media rabbit hole

A lot of us care about what others think of us, but putting a numeric measure on the need to be accepted is dangerous for our children. The best thing we can do to protect them from these self-destructive behaviours? Teaching them – and ourselves – how to build resilience. Now children are basing how worthy they are on the amount of likes they get on their social media posts. When I was at school I did feel upset if people didn’t like me, so in that sense I don’t think it’s changed a lot.

A lot of us care about what others think of us, and we want to be liked. The difference is that there wasn’t a numeric measure to it, not like there is now on social media sites. If you see the number of likes, shares, tweets and re tweets hasn’t moved from zero, that’s a pretty clear measure that someone can use and interpret in a negative way. It’s unlikely they’ll think people haven’t seen it or that it wasn’t interesting to them. Kids are translating that and making it personal, it means they aren’t liked.

Perception is a tricky thing 

This brings up the whole debate on perception, we can’t possible know what really goes on in people’s minds and lives. Yet we do all tend to compare ourselves to what we see on the surface, we base our self-worth on it and act and react accordingly. Karren talks about keeping lines of communication open and asking kids how they feel about things. 

I would say this is true even as an adult, all too often we can shut down, keep our feelings and thoughts to ourselves and sometimes withdraw and go into ourselves. Certainly those affected by someone else’s addiction would relate to this. As a child you learn not to share how you feel, when you do you may have been ignored, belittled or told you weren’t right in how you felt.

…So what?

I like the idea of Karren’s reference to the “So What” question, this can certainly bring about a sense of perspective. Building resilience can help eradicate this sensitive and overly concerned opinion of what others think of us. It can also identify areas we need to look at in ourselves.

If we need the approval, love and attention of others, it certainly can highlight the absence we have of it from ourselves. The reference to an overhaul of the curriculum is long overdue, I think a lot of people will agree. Life skills are as important as academic skills, if not more so. Plus, as we know we are all imperfect human beings and if kids aren’t learning certain skills from the parents (which is often the case in homes of addiction and trauma) then how can they be more resourceful and resilient?

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