High self-esteem vs low self-esteem can make all the difference for your child's development and well-being. But as we all know, the journey to self-love can be a long and winding one, especially once you've started to experience the feelings that come with low self-esteem. Child development is a tricky avenue to navigate, and sometimes you have to take it day by day. This is why it is so important for our children's self-esteem to be nurtured from a young age.
Healthy self-esteem will help your child feel motivated to take care of themselves and feel confident that they are capable of accomplishing the things they want to do. If they begin to struggle with low self-esteem, it's your responsibility to take action in order to help your child feel self-confident and work their way up to developing high self-esteem.
The negative impact social media can have on your child’s self-esteem is likely a big concern of yours. As I’m sure you understand, the little things in life can sometimes feel like the end of the world for kids. One mean comment, a passive-aggressive post from a classmate, or a message that made them feel less confident about themselves can do more harm to their mental health than you may think.
During these developmental years, they are seeking independence while still heavily relying on the attention and validation of others. In order to build self-esteem, they need you to teach them to see their worth from within and to not depend on this external, virtual validation to feel good about themselves. Ensure that they have the confidence to take on all of the new challenges that are thrown their way because of their good self-esteem.
As a parent, you can tell them to be happy for others, not compare themselves, and be confident in their own person. But, we all know that's easier said than done. So what can you do to be sure this kind of content doesn't affect your child's self-esteem?
Unfortunately, social media can have a negative effect on your child whether that was its intention or not. Some of the content that will negatively impact your child's self-esteem can be easy to identify, especially if you're monitoring their smartphone or online activity.
We’re talking about the posts, comments, or private messages that were written with the intention of hurting your child. This is still difficult to control as you can’t filter what others say online. However, consistently monitoring their activity gives you the opportunity to remain involved and intervene in these types of situations as soon as they happen.
One place that has become a haven for cyberbullies is TikTok. This platform is filled with trolls hiding behind a screen with obscure usernames intentionally tearing others down. TikTok has the feature of being able to “like” comments themselves which, in some cases, incentivizes users to come up with the funniest and sometimes most hurtful comments. It is rare that the top comments of viral videos are not sarcastic, hateful, pathetic attempts at humor towards the creator.
Unfortunately, young kids are no exception to this online abuse. Whether it's from people they know or strangers, these words can have a brutal effect on their mental health. Even 17-year-old TikTok celebrity, Charli D'Amelio, has become a victim of these types of attacks. With such a large social following, her life has been put under a microscope and she has begun to experience body shaming. The teen influencer has snapped back that her weight shouldn't even be a topic of discussion and encourages her followers to only spread positivity and continue to lift one another up rather than tearing each other down.
If your child begins to experience anything similar or is seeing it happen to influencers, they may begin to rethink how they feel about themselves. They will be in need a huge boost of confidence to get through these types of experiences and be reminded that they are loved for who they are. Children can be more resilient than we may assume, as long as the situations are handled immediately and in the right way. Be diligent in teaching new skills that allow them the ability to bounce back after experiencing a blow at their self-esteem.
Now, just because someone isn't explicitly bullying your child online or intentionally sending mean messages, doesn't mean your child's self-esteem isn't still at risk. In many instances, the content that hurts their confidence wasn't even intended to.
Your child may feel upset and down about themselves after spending hours scrolling through influencers or people they know personally. They may wish they looked like them, dressed like them, or were experiencing the things these friends are boasting about online.
As a parent, you may see a picture of a girl in your child's class posing on the beach and think nothing of it. But what does this picture mean to your child? The girl posting it may not have any intention of making others feel less worthy but when your daughter sees this picture her first thoughts may be "Why doesn't my hair look like that?" or "I wish my body looked like hers".
This type of content is tough to monitor and not necessarily “negative” itself. This is why consistently checking in with your child to see if social media is making them feel this way is so important when they face challenges in regard to their self-esteem.
Consistently checking in will help your child learn how to prioritize the way they feel about themselves. These check-ins can be brought up in the form of playful questions or by coming up with positive affirmations to describe themself. If you are consistent, it will be easier for you to identify any changes in their energy.
Last week they were excitedly talking about how proud they were of their recent art project in school, but this week their positive affirmations were done with low enthusiasm and didn't feel genuine.
These indicators can be your sign to spend time diving a bit deeper to understand what may be causing the shift in their self-esteem and overall happiness. Encourage them to feel proud of the positive things happening in their life and feel confident in their abilities. This will also create an open and comfortable environment for them to initiate conversations if they ever begin to feel discouraged or down about themself in any way.
The sooner you address these issues, the better. Developing good self-esteem will require some work but instilling a strong sense of self-worth at a young age will have a tremendous impact on their mental health.
Over the past couple of years, there have been rumors that some popular social media companies may remove “likes” from their business model. Just this past year, Instagram became the first to do it. Now, users have the option to disable others from seeing the number of likes they've received.
There are many reasons or theories as to why this should or should not happen. The biggest reason for it is probably the fact that users are defining themselves by the amount of “likes” or “comments” they receive on their posts. The bigger issue is that they're becoming dependent on it.
As a parent, we encourage you to prioritize building up their self-confidence and teaching them to not be dependent on the validation of others both on and offline. Associating their self-worth with that “like” button can be detrimental to one’s mental health and self-esteem. This is why building up your child’s confidence offline is so important.
You need to teach your child to find their worth and self-love outside of social media. This way, they can post, interact and explore without the overwhelming pressure of being “liked” online. When they feel supported and appreciated in their real-life it will, in turn, teach them to love themselves despite the attention they may or may not be receiving online.
You can't control the hatred coming from others but you can control the kindness you choose to spread and the people you surround yourself with. Wouldn’t it be great if every time your child logged onto social media they left feeling encouraged and confident? Well, let’s make that a priority!
Teach them the importance of following accounts that promote positivity, loving yourself, and being confident in who you are. This type of energy will rub off on them and change the feelings that they associate with being online. Many of us are often naive about the amount of bullying that happens online, especially among the younger generations who have grown up in this digital world. They need to understand the value of surrounding themselves with an online community that makes them feel safe, confident, and inspired.
Cyber Dive understands that social media isn’t going anywhere. Kids are engulfed in it and their young lives are revolving around it. This is why we created our fully-monitored smartphone for kids, Aqua One. We believe that there is so much good that can come from allowing your child to explore online and they should learn to reap the benefits of technology with your unwavering guidance.
Basically, you give your child an Aqua One smartphone. They can download apps, use social media, search on Google, text with friends, etc. Nothing is off-limits. They aren't confined to a certain number of parent-approved contacts or 'kiddie' apps. They have the freedom to explore and interact with friends easily.
Now, from your side, you will gain consistent, real-time monitoring access from your own smartphone. You simply sign in to your Parent Dashboard and every text, search, download, like, and comment is instantly at your fingertips.
In addition, the Aqua One comes installed with a one-of-a-kind Mental Health Check. This prompts your child to answer a variety of age-based questions up to three times a day, gauging their overall mental well-being, including their self-esteem! You will have access to all of their responses as well as psychology-backed recommendations and tips based on your child's responses to help you solve problems they may be facing or implement social activities to help their development.
Consistently checking in with your child will make them feel more comfortable talking about any obstacles they may face when developing this loving relationship with themselves. If they create a positive online community where kindness and self-love are encouraged, they will thrive in this digital world! And you, as a parent, can sleep soundly at night knowing that your child has a healthy relationship with themself and social media.