Teens, Social Media, and Anxiety

These days, it’s tough being a young person. There is so much pressure coming from all different angles, outlying influences that are determined to shape personalities and distort feelings. The almost Orwellian power of Facebook and other forms of social media is everywhere and young people are hardly ever out of its roving eye.

Because of this, many succumb to the pressure and lose faith in their bodies and minds. Society is like quicksand and we are caught in the tightening grip of a culture that is always telling us, “You’re not good enough.” It takes much strength not to sink. All of us, no matter what age, feel the effects of this social bully. Teenage girls, however, feel it a little bit more, especially if we go by statistics discussed in The Guardian.

Daniel Boffey writes, “Recent statistics show that teenage girls are skipping meals as weight anxiety soars. Two-thirds of girls in their mid-teens want to be thinner, and self-esteem continues to fall. Two in three girls aged 14 and 15 say they want to lose weight, according to an annual survey of 78,000 teenagers, which reveals a startling increase in recent years in teenage girls who are anxious about their size.”

Despite the statistics covering only England, it is fair to suggest that the situation stateside is worse. It is downright terrifying to think that two-thirds of girls in their mid-teens want to be thinner. That is a very high number and it is clear that there is an epidemic of low self-esteem affecting “First World” countries.

There are armies of teenage girls riddled with anxiety that they can barely get through five minutes without thinking about how bad they look. When will we all, as parents of teenage girls, step up to the plate and take a swing at those in the media and major retailers for promoting, as Boffey puts it, “unrealistic and unhealthy body shapes as the norm.” Once that norm is established, social media runs with it and becomes a source of social anxiety and cyberbullying.

At Greenbrier Academy, we help teenage girls deal with their insecurities in positive and healthy ways. We teach them the skills that will prevent them from sinking into that social media quicksand, skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. Contact us today to learn more.