Typically, social media’s effect on tweens and teens is considered to be something that only girls must deal with. This idea could not be further from the truth. In fact, boys tend to have just as much trouble when it comes to social media as girls do.
Parents should be fully aware of the things that their children experience online, whether their children are boys or girls. Here are a few things that parents of boys should keep in mind.
This is something that both boys and girls struggle with. They are able to see these images and posts all over social media. While young girls will often compare their bodies to those of other girls and to women that they see in magazines, boys will compare themselves to other boys on social media or even men that they see on TV and in print ads. Today’s boys have access to even more images of undressed men than they have in previous generations.
Culture is also something that will affect a boy’s image of their body. Since social media is a huge part of our daily culture, this is something that will alter their view of body image. Today, boys as young as 6-8 are already developing issues with their body image because of things that they have seen through social media, television and even from offline experiences.
In society and emphasized on social media, athleticism, and power is something that is considered to be the best trait for boys to have. However, not everyone has these traits. For those who are not athletic and may exhibit strengths in other areas, this can be something that affects their self-confidence. These boys may feel as though they will never be popular unless they adapt and build their athleticism.
As for us, adults have learned the world needs all different types of people with different types of strengths, and not every man or boy is one that is athletic. Everyone should focus on building their own strengths and talents, even if they are not athletic ones. However, when boys look to social media for guidance, they will begin to believe that being athletic is the only way to become liked by those around them.
Boys are also negatively affected by social media when it comes to being influenced to partake in bad activities. For example, they may be more likely to begin drinking or taking drugs because people that they admire on social media sites are doing the same.
Sex is also something that boys can be influenced to try because of social media. These sites tend to emphasize the sexual roles that men play and young boys may feel as though they must have sex with many people in order to become a man. These circumstances are both very dangerous and could introduce the boy to diseases and illness.
What Can Parents Do?
As parents, it is always our job to protect our children, especially from the dangers of social media. The best thing that you can do to fight against the negativity that social media introduces to your teen boys is to talk to them. Explain to them that social media’s views on things like body image, popularity and sex isn’t something that is particularly correct.
You should also make sure that your son has a positive role model that will show him that not everyone needs to fall in line with what social media is saying is the right path to take. In the end, communication with your children and monitoring their use of social media is the best way to make sure that they are staying healthy and happy.
If you continue to be concerned about your son, the most important thing you can do is to remain engaged and aware. Look for clues and signs such as absorption in his mobile device and an abrupt or depressed mood. Sometimes it is as simple as a break! Talk to your son about enjoying social media’s benefits in moderation.
It is easier to help your son balance his use of mobile devices when you use trustworthy parental control like Netsanity.
As I always say, knowledge is power so be aware and stay involved.
Be sure to check out our massive “How to Block Porn on Mobile Devices” guide we just published.