From the Instagram likes and Snapchat filters to Facebook friend requests from family members, social media has become part of teens every day lives. Social media now plays a vital role in the connections many teens have with their peers, their family members and the world at large.
According to the Pew Research Center, 76% of teens use social media. Here are 4 tips to create healthy relationships on and off social media:
1. Listen: Adolescents often engage in interactions with their peers, but some may struggle with listening to how their friends think and feel. Be present in the conversations with your friends and let them know you are listening. Sometimes a simple “How are you doing?” can be a beautiful expression of showing that you care.
2. Don’t Compare Yourself To Your Friends: While everyone is posting their highlight reels on social media, notice any unpleasant emotions it may bring up for you. Teens often feel they need to compare themselves to their peers, based on popularity and the illusion of one’s social media accounts. In addition, teens may feel hurt from seeing their peers being invited to social events if they weren’t also invited. It is important for teens to not allow the “likes” in the digital world to outweigh the likes they receive from face to face interaction.
3. Don't Gossip About Others: Do your best to refrain from saying negative things or spreading false information about your friends to other people. If you are dealing with a conflict with a friend, speak to him or her in private about your concerns. Stop and think before posting confidential information on social media sites that you will regret later.
4. Be Present: Teens will often go out with their friends, but spend their time staring at their cell phones. You can create a healthy relationship with your friends by being fully present. Instead of refreshing your news feed and checking notifications, spend time with your friends doing activities you each enjoy. Make it your goal to devote your undivided attention and time learning new things about one another.
If you're feeling distant from your friends, follow these tips to improve your relationships. Enjoy!