You may laugh at this title, but most of us don’t actually realise that there is a totally different life happening online with our teens. The Secret Social Media Life of Teens is a thing!
The social media platforms allow our teens to be someone completely different and in fact to really relax and be confident in ways they often cannot be in public.
Is that a good or a bad thing?
For many teens they will give a resounding yes. Why shouldn’t they be confident and relaxed amongst their peers? For us adults, we get worried that they are being just a wee bit too relaxed and confident.
Much like a drug, when a teen is online, they do and say things without really thinking about the consequences. They forget that once something is online it stays online, no matter how fast they delete.
It has become too easy to share photos, videos and words via the online platforms. While it can be a great way to be social, it can also be a great way to be alienated.
Besides what they are posting and to whom, teens are getting wise. The secret social media life of teens starts with them creating personas and user names that are nothing like their own names or personas. Maybe that isn’t such a bad thing, you say. After all, then no one knows its them and they cannot get into trouble or put themselves into unsafe situations. Sure, that is one way to look at it. But, most times, they are only trying to fool their parents. The participants in these private Facebook groups and Finsta accounts know exactly who they are socialising with.
It has been found out that often these groups are put together for real specific purposes. If you have ever watched an episode of Law and Order, you will have an idea of the craziness that teens can come up with. From groups that support rape to groups that get together and plot ways to cyberbully certain fellow students.
A study at the University of California, came to the conclusion that it isn’t really the teens fault that we now have a term like a ‘secret social media life of teens’. Because their brain haven’t developed 100%, they are focused on the “reward processing and social cognition”. Yes, our teens get all excited, much like most would about sex and money, when it comes to being socially recognised and what they can gain from the interaction or situation.
While you may be thinking that there are a few adults who fit that bill too, you wouldn’t be wrong, but it’s the under agers that we are more concerned about. They are the ones that we can help. They are the ones that need our help more, so that they don’t end up becoming those adults with the same problem.
What can we do then, to manage the secret social media life of teens?
After all, they are our kids, and until they walk out the door and say “C’est la vie” we have the responsibility to look after them as best we can.