Confidence. It’s defined in many different ways and many seem to have it in abundance. Or is this just how they appear and are perceived?

We are a nation accustomed to unachievable standards of beauty, everywhere we turn we are presented with an edited and airbrushed world and along with the abundance of social media channels at our fingertips, what affect is this having on us?  We cherry pick and edit an “Ideal” self before sharing on social networks, creating a story of who we want to be and how we want to be perceived by others. 

So does social media imitate real life? What are we not seeing? The behind the scenes, the messy bits. We just get the highlights, adding to a myth of the perfect life or super being. This creates more and more pressure, leaving many hungry for social media validation - a self-worth ruled by Likes and Followers. 

Studies have shown how social media is harming the mental health of teenagers, damaging their sleep patterns and increasing risks or anxiety and depression. For many and especially in teenagers, this pressure to feel socially accepted can adversely affect self esteem, while those with high self-confidence are less affected, those lacking in self confidence become more anxious or depressed with constant comparison to what others have.

These seemingly perfect lives and the feeling of 'not being able to measure up', results in damaged self confidence and an erosion of self worth, not to mention general mental health. With girls being more likely to be susceptible to having low self-esteem, perhaps because of the increased emphasis placed on appearance over intelligence or ability, studies showing children as young as three with body image issues, and four year olds with the knowledge of how to lose weight. A very unsettling thought. 

Self-esteem in it’s definition is considered an important component of emotional health, self-esteem encompasses both self-confidence and self-acceptance. It is the way individuals perceive themselves and their self-value. So how can we influence self-esteem, build emotional health and well being in ourselves and children, when technology is developing so quickly and social media becomes more and more prominent in everyday lives? 

This thought provoking blog post could be a good place to start, helping us rethink how we talk to our daughters (and sons). 

Read more about the affect of social media on teens: http://childmind.org/article/teens-and-social-media/