About 52% of the population currently use at least one form of social media. If you are struggling to understand what the hype is about, especially if your kids are spending a significant amount of time online, keep reading. Hopefully I can answer any questions you have by providing you with some insight into why kids love social media so much.
Social media platforms have become a free, in the palm of your hand source of entertainment. You don’t even need to follow accounts anymore to have a fully populated feed of curated photos and videos to keep you busy. With YouTube being one of the largest video-sharing platforms, people can spend hours watching things like celebrity vlogs, video game tips, GRWMs (get ready with me), prank videos or makeup tutorials. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram consist of more short-form videos with dance challenges, DIY tips, life hacks and recipes. Majority of the time, social media is a place for kids to mindlessly scroll, get a laugh or two and see content about topics that interest them. It brings immediate satisfaction and is there whenever they need it.
The original social media platforms, like MySpace and Facebook, were created solely for the purpose of keeping people connected. Honestly, not sure many of us could have survived 2020 without it! Over time, the ways we use social media has expanded. But, kids still use these platforms to see what their friends are doing. They are able to share personal aspects of their lives with hundreds, if not thousands, of online friends. This online group goes beyond their inner circle of family and friends and likely extends into friends of friends.
Many platforms have implemented a feature known as “Stories” which allows for people to post more casually since these posts are typically only up for only 24 hours. Kids are able to see meals their friends are enjoying, real life updates from their friends’ vacations or their OOTD (outfit of the day). It may seem pointless to the older generations, but for kids, this is their way of keeping up with one another.
Celebrities and influencers use social media platforms to share and confirm the more intimate details about their personal life. Before social media became the go-to source for all things pop culture, we had to go to the local store, pick up a magazine and flip through it to hear the latest on these stars. Now, we can open up our phone and get the information instantly. Kids can discover new albums that are being released by their favorite artists, learn about the up and coming celebrities, get behind the scenes info on new movies or tv shows and so much more.
Many of the Gen Z influencers have made a career off of these platforms thanks to their dedicated online fans. They have the power to set fashion trends, convince millions to try their coffee order and take underground music artists to Spotify’s Top Hits. So, without social media you are likely behind on all of the latest trends and gossip, which gives most kids major FOMO (fear of missing out).
We all appreciate a little validation every now and then. Social media has made it easier than ever to get this confirmation from hundreds of your closest friends. Sometimes your child may just post a story to see that people are viewing it and care to see what they are up to. A simple “like” or “comment” hyping them up could make your kid’s day, especially if it’s from someone special. If you weren’t aware, Gen Z has turned social media into a passive-aggressive dating site, so just know that chivalry is not dead.
Of course, this is all fun and games to a certain extent. If your child’s self-worth becomes dependent on likes, comments and followers, it’s probably time for a little chat. Social media can make them feel really great one day and not so great the next. This is why it is so important to become involved in this aspect of your child’s life so that you can have this insight into how their activity could be affecting their confidence and mental health.
Social media has become the hot spot for self-expression. Apps like TikTok have given kids the ability to express themselves and challenge their creativity with the platform’s editing capabilities. Online trends are changing every week, so it is a full time job for your kids to keep their profile up to date. When done right, social media can be used as the ultimate space for inspiration and motivation. Your child should be building a community of online friends with similar passions who have their best interests at heart. This fuels a positive online environment which results in more positive online experiences for your child. They should feel encouraged to share about things they’ve learned or hobbies they have recently taken up. By becoming involved with your child’s online life, you can guide them to build this uplifting community so that they can reap all of the benefits social media has to offer.