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Social Media Posts Put Your Child on Display

If a tree fell in a forest and you didn’t post about it, did it really happen?

Today children use social media to document everything they do, from what they had for breakfast to risky stunts. The pictures and videos remain online and are open to interpretation from anyone and everyone. While this may not seem like a big deal now, think about how much your child has changed, from infancy to toddlerhood to the teenage years. Have their interests remained the same? Do they have the same views about life? Probably not. Your child’s thoughts and feelings naturally evolve as they grow and develop new perspectives about themselves. Of course, nobody can anticipate how their ideas will change, no more than they can tell what their favorite toy will be six months from now. As your child develops, you may look adoringly at cute pictures from their younger years, but you only keep those memories for your viewing pleasure. When children and teens post their pictures online, they are no longer safe from others’ judging eyes.

Children Seek Approval from Peers

Children also seek validation from their peers through their actions. But when they act in a way that they may regret, this can lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment. Not all children are ready for the repercussions that could come from social media judgment. And maturity seems to play a role.  Children can act impulsively, not considering their actions before posting footage of themselves for all to see. They may feel compelled to do daring, risqué, or attention-getting acts to seem relevant and exciting.

Online Posts Do Not Disappear

In addition, what could have been perceived as an innocuous post, could be their worst nightmare. Be careful of what your child posts online.  Once they put information on the web, it isn’t easy to delete.  Yes, even the Snapchat posts that your child thought would just disappear can haunt your child for years. Even if they think it was erased, other viewers can take screenshots. An embarrassing post from their distant past could affect your child’s personal life and even their future job prospects. Regardless of high privacy settings, all it takes is for the wrong person to use your child’s content for malicious reasons or share it in a way that could be hurtful.

How to Find Satisfaction Offline 

Social media offers many benefits, such as maintaining friendships and sharing interests, but you want your child to use it for healthy communication and not fill a void caused by low self-worth.  You can help your child find validation by encouraging them to participate in activities solely for their gain, instead of seeking approval from others. This will help your child experience happiness and self-confidence. To do this, help your child find something they like to do, such as a sport or hobby.  Whatever it is, encourage them to participate without posting online during or afterward. And have them partake in the activity frequently. You want them to enjoy it.  The activity should be more than just another new and exciting experience, but one where they are developing a skill and increasing pride in their abilities.  
Once the activity becomes less of a novelty and just plain enjoyable, posting online should be considered. However, even then, it’s questionable whether this will provide true satisfaction. But at least it is done for your child’s gain, and not to prove themselves to others.

Capture the Memories, But Keep Some to Yourself

So, by all means, take photos and savor the memories for years to come. But encourage your child to think twice before posting pictures on social media where they will possibly remain forever. Consider whether they are uploading content for an audience or the private and personal joy that it will bring to those who care about them.
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