Is Social Media Ruining Our Kids? Seeking Approval & Validation

parenting Aug 22, 2019
Is Social Media Ruining Our Kids

Is social media ruining our kids? Is it messing our children's lives? There is a lot of talk about the addiction and dangers of social media on youth. But can we blame social media for most of today's problems with kids?

As parents we really need to take a hard look at why kids are using social media. Are kids seeking approval or are the looking for validation from others?

  I get asked these questions quite often.  I was recently getting interviewed on a podcast and the topic of "sharenting" came up – If you are not familiar with it, I did a video on sharenting.  It’s basically when parents post about their kids on social media. Whether you want to admit it or not it’s up to you, but I would argue that a lot of posting on social media relates to seeking validation or approval.

Sure many use it for connection, but we want to show everyone how amazing our family vacation was.  Or check out my kid, he hit a home run yesterday.  Or our dog is so funny, look at what she did today. But to answer the question if social media is messing up our kids, I think we need to look at why THEY are posting.  Are they seeking validation and approval as well?  Or is it simply that the younger generation connects this way?  

I was having a discussion, ok debate, recently with someone who is 25 years old.  I am not 25 years old.  The issue we were debating was why people post on social media. My contention was that “most” people posting are doing so because they get something out of it.  Whether it’s for other people to think their life is great and they get validation or to show their life is not great and get sympathy.  The comments and likes they receive are an important part of the addiction to social media…it is why those features are there.

Now in the world of my millennial friend, that is not why he posts.  He says he grew up with social media as the way to really connect with his friends and family.  Sharing pictures, videos, etc. was how he communicates.  He feels connected to his friends by seeing what they are doing.

But we still have figure out if social media is ruining our kids?  Here is the harsh reality for our children.  We have increased anxiety and depression, kids are comparing themselves to others more than they have in the past, we have increased incidents of bullying.  But can we blame all of these on social media?

Well, it looks like one thing we need to look at is what is the motivation behind the child being on social media?  Is your child trying to impress their friends with their posts or simply communicate? Let me say this and you may not like it. But if your child is posting because they are seeking approval and validation, you as the parent have to take some responsibility for this. It doesn’t mean you are a horrible parent, it just means your child may need more self-esteem or even better self-acceptance.

Listen, validation and approval are things we value.  The key for us parents is to help our children feel that from within the best they can.  Help them not need approval from the outside world. We can start by using statements like “You should be so proud of yourself” instead of saying “I’m so proud of you”. Or “look at what you accomplished” versus “I’m pretty amazed that you did that”  We need them to feel good about themselves from within.  This then reduces their need to seek outside approval and validation.

The debate on whether social media is good or bad for our kids is alive and well. I’d love to hear from you.  Do you think social media is messing up our kids? 

Watch the "Is Social Media Ruining Our Kids?" video here:

Enjoy this article?
Get unlimited access to Dad University

The #1 educational platform for dads. Join our growing community of fathers from around the world!

Become a Member