Social Media & Friendships is it a bad thing?
The way we communicate has changed a lot over the years, and teens today spend an average of 9 hours a day connected to their cell phones. While a lot of this time is not necessarily negative, it's not all positive either. More time spent on social media means less time with face to face interaction, and that can be vital when developing and keeping friendships strong.
1. The world of gaming
This is such a popular world right now, and the cool thing about gaming is that it seems every "clique" can come together in one place and spend time, well, together. This is huge in the world of relationships, but what happens when it's not someone they know? Make sure your students have healthy relationships with the people they are gaming with online. It can be scary as a parent not knowing who your child is spending the majority of their day with. Set boundaries early on so there is a clear understanding of how to use this platform as safely as possible.
2. Instagram & Snapchat
As much as we love these platforms sometimes it can be information overload, especially "perfect" information overload. On these platforms, teens and adults often paint a “perfect” picture of their lives only allowing you to see the pretty side of their days. This can cause stress and irritation to our own lives as we naturally tend to compare our lives with others. These platforms aren’t bad all around. We just need to put boundaries in place here, too, to make sure we are choosing to spend an appropriate amount of time in our already packed day looking into our friends "perfectly" also packed days.
3. Factual vs. Fake
Sometimes we think we already know everything going on in our friend's lives because we base our ideas on what they post on social media. That could be anything from the friend who is using those platforms to vent about their life, to the friend who, mentioned above, paints the picture of a “perfect” life. “What could I possibly have in common with them?” "What would we even talk about that has not already been put out there for everyone to see?” Instead of thinking there is nothing more to talk about, we can use these posts as ques to dig deeper with our friends. Lashing out on social media is often a cry for help. That friend who seems to have the "perfect" life…reach out to them. They probably have something going on that they could really use a good friend to talk over it with. Having open conversations will help in determining what is factual vs. what is fake.
4. Less to say in person
We know we say a lot in the world of Facebook & Twitter, but then there is text messaging. The average teen sends over four thousand texts per month. Often, teens will choose to stay home and not hang out with their friends in person because they can communicate in every other outlet without having to leave the comfort and “safety” of their home. This may not be you, or your student specifically, but for those of you who say “YES! This is MY KID!”, think of ways you can encourage your student to hang out with friends in person, go out to eat, check out the next home game! Whatever it is, encourage real people interaction, it's a must when it comes to developing strong, healthy friendships.
Jordan is our Communications Director, joining the DCO staff in 2017. She studied Marketing at East Texas Baptist University where she met her husband Cody. Jordan and her husband both have a heart for students and seeing them succeed.