Thanks for sharing Mary-Kate!
This article by Rachel Simmons (author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls) highlights what is to me one of the more discomfiting uses of social media by teen girls – as a tool for for measuring self-worth and gaining approval by their peers (the ways in which this can backfire are numerous and terrifying).
I know as a parent, the one thing I want for my daughters is for them to find self-worth in their actions and own inner mettle, not in the amount of likes they get on instagram. Yet certain aspects of social media lends themselves to the teenage brain- the heightened need for rewards (and likes are the best rewards). The insecurity and angst that are par for the course in puberty that makes it so they are in constant need of reassurance.
So what can adults do? Honestly? Not much except be aware. Realise that the ways they are using social media is directly related to where they are at in their development. Banning it would be worse than useless. Denigrating it positively harmful. But having meaningful, non-judgemental conversations could go a long way to putting their online life into perspective.
Girls have quietly repurposed the photo-sharing app into a barometer for popularity, friendship status and self-worth. Here’s how they’re using it.