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Most of us know someone who has felt bad about themselves because of social media. Some of us have been in those shoes too. Social media can let people connect and express themselves. But it also has risks. There is often cyberbullying and constant comparisons to others. This can lead to skewed views of ourselves and increased symptoms of anxiety and depression.  

It has been reported that 93% of teens use social media. Because they are growing and developing, it is really important that they know how to build a good relationship with social media. 

Building Social Media Resilience 

So how can you and your teens use social media wisely? It’s best for young kids to start social media later. This lets them focus on the real world and learn how to be with friends face-to-face. 

For those who are already using social media, there are other ways you can build resilience. This may include: 

Being on the lookout for ANTs. ANTs, or Automatic Negative Thinking Traps, cause you to make snap judgments. It’s important to look out for ANTs in your own thinking and in what others share online. Watch for these ANTs:  

  • All or Nothing Thinking – stating thoughts in extremes. 
  • Feeling makes fact – saying it is true because we feel it so strongly (and ignoring that there are other perspectives). 
  • Labeling – using harsh labels for people and ignoring that each one of us is valuable.  

Setting boundaries. You can do this by being aware of what others are sharing. Unfollow, block, or turn off notifications from those who are using ANTs, sharing negative things, or being mean to others. 

Managing screen time. Set limits for yourself or the children and teens in your life. Make sure there are parts of the day that are social media free. Try to make sure you have as many in-person chats as you do on social media.  

Having healthy online connections. Research has shown that people in healthy relationships make 5 kind comments for every negative comment. Try this online as well. And disconnect from others who don’t seem to follow the 5 to 1 rule.  

We can control how we use social media. This can help limit the risks it can cause. There are many tools to help you build healthy social media habits like what we have shared above. Additional tools that focus on gratitude, hope, optimism, and building stronger relationships can be found in Learn to Live’s Resilience program.