Teenagers need to be connected to each other on an emotional level, but with new technologies they need to be connected virtually as well. Social media can play an important and healthy role in helping teens shape their personality, but there need be no pain points at this stage when it comes to social connection.
So that there are no problems in current social communication in adolescents, it lies in two aspects: awareness and information. Understanding the specific goals of adolescence also helps to understand the needs, something that will reduce the risks of social networks and help adolescents better understand how they should handle them.
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Connecting with Others
Adolescent brains are heavily wired to connect with their peers. When it comes to social media, ‘likes’ are much more than a number for them, it’s acceptance of a group, inclusion and validation. This is not about not having a mind of your own, it’s about experiencing where you belong, which is your place in the world… and in our current society, social networks have a very important weight .
We all have to belong somewhere and they are at a stage where they are looking for this place. Over time, they will realize that their place is where they feel loved, warm… that is, their home. But they are also interested in knowing their place in the world: who they are, what they identify with, how they do things, etc.
Social networks do not have to be bad
Social media doesn’t have to be so bad when you consider privacy and account settings. During adolescence, teens often seek to create new friendships and deepen peer connections.The relationships teens create during adolescence can be a great support as they transition into adulthood. Research indicates that these relationships are a strong predictor of well-being and happiness throughout life.
Networks and social media make it easier to maintain friendships and connect with others. It also pushes boundaries by increasing the chance of finding a place to belong. Teens who might otherwise feel isolated or lonely can find an outlet on social media and realize that they can meet other people and that it is something normal -as long as it is under parental control and with the necessary privacy settings-.
Networks and social media expand the opportunity for adolescents to feel part of a group and also feel safe to try new things or establish their own identity.
But you have to be careful
Whenever possible, you need to let space for teens to have their relationships and learn all they can about people – both the ones to keep close to and the ones to avoid. The important thing is that you know how to keep in touch with the people you care about. It is normal that your teenage son or daughter does not always want your advice, but when they need it… they really need it and want to listen to it. If they feel disconnected from you or you have little communication, they will never be able to take advantage of your advice.
Your child may have friends you don’t approve of, but you should be careful with your guidance. In adolescence you have limited control over who your children spend time with, you can have influence but you must earn it with trust and open communication. The best way to achieve this is to be a person your child trusts, that he feels safe, that he knows that you are not going to judge him or criticize him. Your child likes social media because it’s an easy way to communicate, but he’ll need limits and guidance.