Jun 21, 2024

Navigating Social Media: Opportunities and Pitfalls for Teens

Social media is a huge part of our lives today, especially for teens who have grown up with it and don’t know life before it… As a Teen Life Coach, I’ve seen both the amazing benefits and the not-so-great side effects of social media on teens. In this week’s blog, we’re going to dive into how social media impacts teens’ mental health and offer some practical tips for responsible use. We’ll also bring in insights from Jonathan Haidt’s interview at the Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything conference and share our thoughts on supporting your teen in building a healthy digital life.

The Good Stuff About Social Media

Let’s start with the positives. When used wisely, social media can be a fantastic tool for teens. Here are some of the upsides:

Staying Connected: Social media helps teens keep in touch with friends and family, even if they’re miles apart. It’s a great way to maintain relationships and feel part of a community.

Self-Expression: Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube give teens a creative outlet to share their thoughts, talents, and hobbies. This can boost their confidence and help them find their unique voice.

Learning and Inspiration: There’s a ton of educational content on social media. Teens can follow accounts that share cool facts, teach new skills, and inspire them to explore new interests.

Activism and Advocacy: Many teens use social media to stand up for causes they care about. It’s empowering to see young people raising their voices and making a difference.

The Not-So-Great Stuff

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Social media can also have some downsides, especially when it comes to mental health. Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist, talked about these issues in his recent interview at the Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything conference. Here are some of the challenges:

Comparison and Self-Esteem: Social media is full of picture-perfect moments. Teens might compare themselves to these idealised images, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

Cyberbullying: Unfortunately, online harassment is a real issue. Cyberbullying can cause significant emotional distress and affect a teen’s mental health.

Addiction and Distraction: Social media can be super addictive. Teens might find themselves spending hours scrolling, which can take away time from important activities like studying, exercising, and face-to-face interactions.

Privacy and Security: Sharing personal information online can pose privacy risks. Teens need to understand the long-term consequences of their digital footprint.

Tips for a Healthy Digital Life

So, how can we help teens use social media in a healthy way? Here are some practical tips:

Talk Openly: Encourage open and honest conversations about social media. Ask your teens about their online experiences and listen without judging. This helps them feel comfortable sharing their concerns and seeking advice.

Set Boundaries: Establish clear guidelines for social media use. This might include setting time limits, having tech-free zones and times (like during meals or before bed), and discussing what’s appropriate to share online.

Promote Critical Thinking: Teach teens to think critically about the content they see. Encourage them to question the authenticity of what they encounter and understand that social media often shows a filtered version of reality.

Encourage Balance: Help your teens find a balance between their online and offline lives. Encourage activities that don’t involve screens, such as sports, hobbies, and spending time with friends and family in person.

Be a Role Model: Set a good example with your own social media use. Show healthy habits, like not constantly checking your phone and prioritising real-life interactions.

Share Resources: Provide resources that promote digital literacy and mental health. This might include websites, books, and workshops that offer practical advice on using social media responsibly.

Insights from Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt’s interview at the Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything conference gave some great insights into the mental health crisis among teens and the role of social media. He pointed out that the design and algorithms of social media platforms often prioritise keeping users engaged over their well-being. Haidt advocates for changes in how these platforms are designed and calls for better regulations to protect young users.

He also emphasised the need for educational initiatives that teach teens to navigate the digital world critically and responsibly. This aligns perfectly with our approach at Frolic for Life.

Our Thoughts at Frolic for Life

At Frolic for Life, we share Haidt’s concerns and believe in taking a proactive approach. We focus on equipping teens with the emotional resilience and critical thinking skills they need to handle the ups and downs of social media.

We believe that building a healthy digital life starts with education and support. By helping teens understand the potential impacts of social media and providing them with practical tools, we can guide them to use these platforms in a way that enhances their well-being.

Social media is a big part of our teens’ world, and it comes with both opportunities and challenges. By understanding these dynamics and offering thoughtful guidance, we can help teens navigate social media in a way that benefits their mental health and overall well-being.

As a Teen Life Coach, I encourage parents and caregivers to stay informed about the latest research, like Jonathan Haidt’s insights, and to keep the conversation going with their teens about their online experiences. Together, we can empower the next generation to make the most of social media while staying healthy and happy.

Coach Andrea x


Find out more about our Teen Coaching and get in touch for a FREE consultation. Send us an email at or BOOK HERE for a FREE consultation.

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Mahika Rastogi
Andrea is a great children's coach and my daughter was delighted to be coached by her. She is very intuitive and can read and understand children very well and has great techniques to give children the practical hands-on knowledge and skills that they need in life. Andrea's mindfulness meditations are amazing!!
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We engaged Coach Andrea for my 12 year old at a point where my child was going through a period of emotional roller-coaster and often angry. Andrea is very kind, approachable, warm and patient that my child feels comfortable opening up to her. Having another adult, rather than us parents, to talk gave her a safe outlet. She taught my child useful life tools to help better manage her anger. We saw improvements and happy with the impact Coach Andrea had on my child. I would highly recommend Coach Andrea to any parent!
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Rebecca has been a great help to me during my long and challenging fertility journey. From my very first session with her, I felt instantly at ease. Rebecca took great care to really understand my story, my journey so far, my disappointments and my hopes. I found her questions incredibly insightful and perceptive. Together, we uncovered a number of unresolved issues and she handled all our conversations with the utmost sensitivity and empathy. Rebecca is genuinely passionate about helping anyone with fertility issues and I have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone who is looking for someone authentic and caring to speak to.
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Eunice Chua-Sandri
I was really struggling with stress and not knowing how to manage it effectively. It felt like everything was spiralling out of control and I was constantly reacting emotionally to situations. However, after just a few coaching sessions with Rebecca, I feel like I've turned a corner. She has helped me to see things (and myself) from a different perspective and given me lots of guidance on living a more purposeful and stress-free life. I'm now much more mindful of my thoughts and actions, and after implementing all the tools learnt in our sessions, I’m finally learning how to manage my stress and am feeling calmer and more in control than ever before. If you're struggling with stress, I would highly recommend Rebecca- she's truly transformed my life!
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My children, aged 11, did Life Coaching with Coach Andrea. Andrea has a soft touch - she was very approachable, gentle, kind and patient with them, offering valuable lessons on how to lead a healthy life, in both mind and body. The materials were presented in a fun way, in the format of games and videos, so it was understandable and digestible. Having another adult, rather than us parents, talk with the kids helped them be more receptive to all the topics too. The kids really enjoyed her pre-recorded meditations for night time to help them relax before bed. The pre-teen/teen years can be an emotional roller coaster ride for both kids and parents, but I feel that Andrea’s coaching (she even helped me with some great pointers) has really helped us prepare with valuable tools to better navigate what’s ahead! It’s definitely a worthwhile investment and would highly recommend to anyone and their kids!
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Nadia Ederer
The moment I heard about Kids Life Coaching from Coach Andrea, I knew I had to sign my kid up for it. Coach Andrea helped to show my pre-teen the tools she needs to cope with all sorts of things life throws at her now, and prepare her for what it will throw at her in the future. I think it was a bit challenging to get things out of her in the beginning, but after building a relationship with her, it became easier. I recommend Kids Life Coaching with Coach Andrea strongly because it’s so important for kids to learn these coping tools, or as she puts it: Superpowers!
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Marisa Karplus
Frolic for Life’s Kids Life Coaching with Coach Andrea was such a great experience for my pre-teen son. Coach Andrea helped him with a transition to a new school and then a transition to a new country one year later! It was so helpful for him to have so many tools in his back pocket to deal with all of the emotions and big feelings. Having an extra adult in his life who he could confide in and trust with his feelings was really important to us. Especially living far from extended family. He really appreciated the role she played for him and felt pretty cool having his own “life coach”. I highly recommend Coach Andrea. She is so excellent with this age group. She really knows how to talk to pre-teens and earn their respect and trust without judgement.
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