From Likes to Life: How Coaching Empowers Teenagers in the Digital World

From Likes to Life: How Coaching Empowers Teenagers in the Digital World

From Likes to Life: Empowering Teenagers in the Digital World

With an iron-pressed dress shirt, you portray an image of professionalism as you open your Zoom work meeting.

No one knows that right under your camera, you’re wearing your pajama pants and sitting right next to your long-overdue pile of laundry.

Dear readers, welcome to the digital world of social media! It is a place where everyone seems to be living their best, most curated life… until we take a peek at what’s under the desk.

In Celebration of Global Wellness Day, we will explore this world and its most affected population: teenagers. We will also learn the reality of sharing our personal identities on social media, delving into some of the ways coaching can help in finding balance.

Everything Is Not What It Seems

The internet connects the world, offering a treasure trove of information and fostering new friendships. However, for many teenagers, this exciting online world can be used negatively. Their social media habits can sometimes veer into destructive behaviors, leading to a range of issues. Let's explore some of these problematic patterns and see how they can negatively impact teenagers' lives:

  • Engaging in Social Comparison: While social media is a perfect platform to share the joys of day-to-day life, many teenagers find themselves unintentionally comparing their lives to others, leading to feelings of depression and negative body image.
  • Seeking External Validation: Ever took the most amazing picture, only to delete it after receiving three measly likes? Problematic adolescent use of social media can sometimes manifest in the dependency of seeking external validation. It’s when our self-worth becomes dependent on the reassurance we receive from other people.
  • Oversharing Personal Information: How else can you connect with your swag squad 24/7 if not for your famous group chat filled with inside jokes, rants and funny memes? As important as supporting networks are in maintaining mental health, teenagers often fall into the trap of oversharing their personal information on social media, a tendency that can have detrimental repercussions. As adolescents’ brains are delicately developing, early overuse of social media is associated with anxiety, attention-seeking and decreased life satisfaction.
  • Exposure to Harmful Behavior: Algorithms are a tricky thing, a slippery slope that pulls you towards negative content, impacting your mood and behavior. With the wrong algorithm, adolescents may be exposed to harmful behaviors, such as cyberbullying.

A Secret To Share

Balancing social media is not about ditching your phone and throwing it into oblivion. In fact, media platforms are a constant in teenagers’ lives, teetering between a positive space for social interactions and a destructive tool for one’s well-being. This is why working with adolescents in maintaining a healthy relationship with social media is a crucial step to protect them from the negative impact of the digital world. How can you do that, you may ask?

Enter your secret weapon: coaching! In many ways, coaching can offer guidance to adolescents and equip them with the necessary skills to balance social media and their well-being.

  • Boost Self-awareness

We’ve all heard it before: the numbers don’t define you. While that’s true, applying this concept into our everyday lives can become difficult, especially with the constant notifications reminding us of our likes and followers. By working with a coach, adolescents can excavate their inner strengths, values, and passions. This newfound self-awareness builds unshakeable confidence to navigate the social media world on their terms, transcending the need for digital validation.

  • Develop A Positive Online Presence

As mentioned before, social media is not the enemy! When used correctly, such platforms have the ability to provide transformative and motivating experiences for adolescents. Coaching guides teens through navigating positive social media presence by using it to support their passions and social connectedness.

  • Enhance Critical Thinking Skills

Just like the hiding-what’s-under-the-desk strategy everyone uses during their Zoom meetings, there are plenty of social media posts filled with misinformation. Coaching helps teenagers build the critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate online content and be mindful of their tendency to overshare and spiral.

  • Set Healthy Boundaries

Let’s be real, our digital world has become enmeshed into our reality in a way that is difficult to address. How can we draw a line when so many parts of our identity overlap between reality and social media? Coaching helps us make sense of these parts, allowing us to recognize the appropriate distance we need to to maintain a healthy lifestyle. With professional help, adolescents are able to create and commit to an appropriate quantity and quality of social media consumption.

Next Step?

So, is social media the villain or hero in a teenager’s life story? Well, exploring the different faces of social media showed us that it can be both. Let's help teenagers find their balance, because beneath the curated feeds and polished profiles, lies the messy, beautiful reality of growing up.

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