7 Ways Teens Can Use Social Media in a Positive Way
Social media is a double-edged sword in our society. How can something be, simultaneously, so impactful and so destructive? Even though communication online is indirect, the feelings are real. The words are powerful. There are consequences on both sides of the interaction that cannot be measured. This is why it is so important to use social media responsibly and in a positive way. For all the bad we encounter online, there is just as much good, and there are powerful ways to put even more good out into the world. Here are 7 ways teens can use social media in a positive way.
- Use social media to buildup your friends. Friends support each other and treat each other with respect; this should also be true online. When people put themselves out there on social media, their friends should be sharing, liking, tweeting – all the online versions of shouting from the rooftops! Imagine being able to post with confidence because you know your friends will support you.
- Schedule in-person interaction. Nothing can take the place of spending actual facetime with people. When most of our interaction with friends happens online or in text messages, we aren’t practicing our direct communication skills. The skills you obtain from resolving conflict and processing emotion in real-time will serve you throughout your entire life, especially in the workplace.
- Be as real as possible online. This does not mean airing your dirty laundry to the world. Social media is not the place to discuss the details of your failed relationship! It does mean sharing your ups and downs and admitting when you struggle. Many teens using social media see so much perfection that they begin to question the quality of their own lives. Find that sweet spot between perfection and oversharing.
- Stay aware of current events and what is going on in the world. Find out about it on social media but get the story from reliable news sources. One of the greatest negative aspects of social media is that everyone shares their opinion and too many people give too much credit to people who are not qualified to be talking about a given topic.
- Make community impact videos. Organize projects that can positively impact your community. Recruit help on social media and document the progress and positive outcomes. It’s about your community, not your good deeds, and you must respect the privacy of others involved.
- Build your personal resume on your social platforms. As you make your way into adulthood, your social profiles will be viewed by colleges, potential employers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, friends, family, etc., and they will form an opinion of you based on that information. Carefully build your personal resume on social media and position yourself as a great student, a valuable employee, and a future leader. Be aware that how you act goes beyond your page; your interactions on other people’s posts, advertisements, and in groups can either be a credit to your character, or a detriment.
- Use social media moderately. The best way to use social media in a positive way is to use it MODERATELY. Do not revolve your life around likes and comments. Incessantly checking your social media absorbs a huge amount of time and it is bad for your mental health. Work on yourself offline. Love yourself, know your worth, move your body, eat healthy meals, and spend time with friends and family. Social media is a powerful tool that should be used with the utmost care. You should build people up, not tear people down. Organize events with your friends and in your community. Share your ups and downs (with discretion), stay aware of current events, and project a positive image of yourself. And, most importantly, know when to put it down.
Social media is public regardless of where you are physically, and you should always act your best in public.
81% of teens say social media makes them feel more connected to what’s going on in their friends’ lives.
71% say that social media makes them feel more included and confident.
FOCUS, a funded project of the Alabama Department of Public Health, promotes school and community partnerships for the reduction of adolescent risk behaviors identified by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Sue C. Jones, Co-Founder and Executive Director of FOCUS, contracts with Jennifer Campbell Consulting to manage FOCUS’ media platforms. FOCUS is actively involved statewide in educating our youth about the importance of using social media in a positive way. Visit www.thefocusprogram.com for more information regarding how to register as a FOCUS school for the 2020-2021 school year.
Contributors: Jennifer Campbell is the Owner/President of Jennifer Campbell Consulting. Rebecca Newman is a Team Member of Jennifer Campbell Consulting. jennifercampbellconsulting.com