It's almost a daily routine, we open our social feeds and gasp: "I can't believe they posted that!"
Perhaps we know the person in real life. Maybe we were even with them when they snapped the photo or simply have the facts behind the screen.
A 2016 Computer in Human Behavior study finds that the majority of adults lie about their online lives. Why?
Many people want to appear to look better, more beautiful, cooler, sexier, and most importantly – they want people to believe that their lives are more than they are in real life.
Helping young people (teens) realize this--that online is not what it seems--can help ease the pressure many of them feel about their own online lives. Some of this angst is attributable to the frequent use of filters.
Filters can be used for fun on platforms such as Snapchat where users can create silly faces and more, but overall teens experience social media envy when they scroll through their Instagram feeds to see unattainable beauty or experiences.
Author of Raising Humans in a Digital World, Diana Graber, shares that many parents are concerned about the anxiety this social media management is causing their kids. “Kids need help understanding that online life is not always the same as offline life,” she says.
It turns out that parental worry about social media anxiety is a valid concern. In a 2017 #StatusOfMind survey Instagram ranked the worst for teen's mental health. Graber shares the results of this study in her book,
According to the #StatusOfMind survey, published by the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health, “Seeing friends constantly on holiday or enjoying nights out can make young people feel like they are missing out while others enjoy life. These feelings can promote a ‘compare and despair’ attitude in young people. Individuals may view heavily photo- shopped, edited, or staged photographs and videos and compare them to their seemingly mundane lives.”
Talking to your kids offline about the deception of online life is only part of helping them develop the digital resilience they need to withstand the pressures of online life.
Walk the talk.
Check-in with your own online behavior.
Did you know that 58 percent of teens say that their parents are their greatest influence on what they think is appropriate online behavior?
· Do you overshare?
· Do you embellish your life or your child's life?
· Do you use filters to perfect your pictures?
· Are you constantly checking-in on your social platforms? Living for likes?
· Are checking-in on your friends lives - frequently?
Remember that what you do online today could influence what a young person does online tomorrow.