Five ways to talk your teen about Instagram comparison

The Wall Street Journal recently published a damning article about Instagram. The article leaked internal documents from Facebook (which owns Instagram) showing that the company knows how harmful Instagram is to teen girls’ mental health (and is not doing anything to change this). For example, one of Facebook’s internal presentations showed that 32% of TEEN GIRLS interviewed said when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse…But knowing how Instagram-obsessed our screenagers are – how do we talk to them about this, and make sure they are mentally equipped to deal with the online comparison that is part and parcel in the online world? We have done the work for you, and put together some conversation starters:

CONVERSATION STARTERS:

“So recently I read an article showing how bad Instagram can be for teen girls’ mental health, and that Facebook (which owns Instagram) knows all about this. I get that for you not everything about Instagram is bad. I’d love to hear your views on this controversial finding.”

1. MAYBE YOU ARE OUTRAGED AT ALL PERFECTION PEOPLE TRY TO PORTRAY ON INSTAGRAM. HOW DO YOU SHOW THAT ANGER? Do you swallow it and carry on scrolling another day, do you laugh it off or screengrab and share private messages with your bestie about the way that others are showing up on your feed? What’s your best way of not letting other people’s so called perfect lives get to you?

2. NOT EVERYONE IS AFFECTED BY INSTAGRAM IN THE SAME WAY. WHAT DO YOU THINK AFFECTS YOU/YOUR FRIENDS MOST?

Is it online comparison, seeing how other people party, dress, where they might live, the friend circle they are in or is it more about seeing when and how you/your friends might have been excluded from get together and parties?

3. WHAT KIND OF ADS ON INSTAGRAM REALLY GET UNDER YOUR SKIN?

What messages do you think they are giving to try and make you feel like who you are isn’t enough?

4. DO YOU THINK INSTRAGRAM AFFECTS THE WAY GUYS VIEW GIRLS?

What pressure does this put on you and your friends – do you feel you have to have a perfect body, or do you filter your pics, does it make you not want to go out unless you are looking beautiful? Or do you feel the opposite, maybe you feel ‘stuff it’, I can never reach that perfection, so I am giving up even trying.

5. IN YOUR MIND, WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT YOUR FRIENDS ARE BEING AFFECTED NEGATIVELY BY WHAT THEY SEE ON INSTAGRAM? Do you think you could tell your friend if they have gone down a rabbit hole online. Do you think you would recognize the signs if YOU found yourself doomscrolling? Who would you go to at this time – I am okay if it isn’t me, as long as you can tell me who your ‘Go-To-Person might be. (An older cousin, a mentor, a coach)

Remember, The Klikd App has an entire module on online comparison, equipping your screenagers with real skills to cope with the constant comparison that is part and parcel with the online world, and making sure they reach out to a person they trust when they are in too deep. Sign up today: https://klikd.co.za/the-app/

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