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All Social Media Has a Cost, Empowered Social Media Use Sets a Budget

What currency are you willing to trade for likes?

It’s not that social media is good or bad, the real question is: What we are willing to trade for likes, views, and follows?

This is a great conversation to have with children and teens over Christmas break. You could ask:

  • What do they hope to get out of using social media?
  • What will they have to give up to have those expectations met?
  • Are their expectations realistic, or are they willing to do anything for their shot at fluke viral fame?

Instead of “rules,” collaborate with your teen to co-create and take ownership of their social media ethic. Also be mindful that the most vulnerable children/teens online are those with needs that aren’t getting met through parent, peer, and support relationships. 

I believe social media links us in a way that can help us be more aware of social issues and more empowered in pieces of our identities that might have once been a source of shame. It can provide a world of opportunity and encouragement to do the thing that we do uniquely in the world, but it can be tricky.

For children, teens and adults alike, here is how we can be empowered in our social media use:

  • Practice tuning-in to your internal experience when using social media.
  • Curate your feed to bring you the content that builds you up.
  • Set boundaries around what you will and will not share.
  • If the desire for more and more engagement feels overwhelming, check-in with yourself about what that need might be saying, and consult with a therapist for more support if needed.
  • Be mindful of what you’re consuming
    • Tip: You could use this worksheet to help cultivate a practice of being mindful!


Recommended reading for further insight:

Much research is being done regarding social media’s impact on the growing mind (and on adults!). Here are a few that begin to explain this link:

Image Description for Screen Readers:

Handwritten text that reads, “What currency are you willing to trade for likes?”

Hand-drawn picture of green-colored paper currency. 

The top bill has a clock drawn in the middle with the word “time” underneath. On the side of the bill is written “one minute” with the number one in each corner of the bill.

Underneath the top bill is a bill with a person’s half-dressed body in the middle, taking a picture of themselves, with the word “personal ethic” written underneath. On the side of the bill is written “one compromise” with the number one in each corner of the bill.

There are two more bills obscured by the top two. One of the bills reads “integrity.”

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