Social media is the latest craze for teens. While social media allows our teens to talk and share with their friends, join groups that interest them, take part in online events and meet new people, it can also be a dangerous place.
Cyber bullying is an epidemic that is quickly spreading and has already taken the lives of so many individuals. Teens are also naive, and social media allows them to easily fall victim to bad influences.
As parents, it is our responsibility to monitor our child’s online activities and play and active role in their life. If our teen is in trouble, they will often feel like they can’t turn to their parents, but they will share it will hundreds of social media friends and followers. The following are five social media warnings that will tell you your teen is in trouble.
1. Depressing or irrational posts
If your teen is depressed, they may turn to social media to express their feelings. Maybe they posted a video to YouTube discussing how the world would be better without them. Maybe they’re always tweeting quotes about death.
If your child has been posting status updates that don’t make sense or seem completely irrational, it could be a sign that they’re abusing drugs or alcohol. If you notice posts that seem out of the ordinary, it may be time to take a closer look at the situation.
2. Significant decrease in friends/followers
If your child is depressed or being cyber bullied, they may unfriend or unfollow a large chunk of their network. If you notice that your child recently went from 800 Facebook friends to 120, you should try to figure out why. They could be cutting people out of their life that they don’t think care about them, or they could be blocking people who have been cyber bullying them.
3. Significant increase in new friends
If your child has recently accumulated a bunch of new friends, it may be an indicator that they’re hanging out with a new crowd. Maybe they switched groups because their old friends started bullying them or pressuring them to do something they didn’t want to do. Or maybe they started abusing drugs or alcohol and have made new friends from their new habit.
4. They’ve changed their social media habits
If your teen used to be obsessed with social media sites, and now they barely touch the computer, it could be a sign that something has happened or is happening on that has made your child disengage. Try to talk with your child to get to the root of the problem.
5. There’s a ton of inappropriate comments on their wall/feed
You can tell if your teen is in trouble by monitoring the comments left on their Facebook wall or Twitter feed. If you notice an increase in lewd or inappropriate comments, then there was obviously an even that occurred to spark the increase.
As a parent, the safety and well being of your child is the most important. No matter what warning signs you notice, it is always important to keep an open line of communication with your teen. Let them know that you are here for them, get them to open up to you, and solve their problem together.