A recent study, conducted by Emily Weinstein who is a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, about how teens interact with Instagram revealed that it is not necessary that browsing passively through glossy Instagram posts by other people will make a teen feel worse about themselves. The study also found that teens who critically analyze posts on social media are more resilient to social media's pressure than those who believe the happy posts to be an indication of a happy life.
The findings of this research add to the debate about the role of parents and educators in helping teens develop literacy-skills which is most required these days to navigate through the world of social media.
In her study, Weinstein found that while some teens understood that the Instagram feeds were curated and effortful, others took the posts literally and felt awful about their own lives as a result of negative comparison.
This difference in the response toward a similar Instagram feed, sure reveals that teens who are better equipped to understand what they are seeing on social media are often immune to the social media pressure.
But how do the teens and adolescents understand develop the analytical skills to identify the difference between what is real and what is the role of parents and educators in this?
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1. Help teens and adolescents learn that social media accounts are orchestrated.
2. Encourage teenagers to assess why they follow a certain social media account. Certain social media accounts encourage social comparison and bad feelings. Teens should be educated to critically analyze the social media accounts they follow.
3. The effect of social media posts vary for individual users. Educators can encourage their students to talk about their individual experience and remind them that they retain the power to unfollow accounts which provoke negative comparisons in them.
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