Many of us may remember those self-conscious teenage years hoping no one would spot up walking out the door in sweats. Teens still have these worries, but with the addition of Facebook and smartphones (that allow a photo to be snapped and uploaded for all to see instantly) the feeling of being seen looking untidy is all the more devastating. And with 7.5 million Facebook members under the age of 13, these worries can start at a very young age.
A recent New York Times report discusses how teens of today feel they have to do a lot more primping and posing in public than ever before. One eighth grader, Grace, describes how she avoids video chats when she is looking less than perfect. Grace explains, “Before a video chat, I’ll fix my hair and make sure that I look good. If I just got out of the shower and my hair is wet, or I’m wearing my sweats, I’ll cover the camera with a Post-it, or I just won’t accept the video chat.”
Other teens describe how posing in a sexy way or wearing revealing clothing will get them more “likes” on Facebook and what teen doesn’t want to be liked by all? Lily, a 14-year-old, explains, “Girls don’t just want to get ‘Likes’ from their close friends. They want to get them from boys, or older kids or kids from other schools who are popular.”
Always being “on” and thinking about how to pose in public may be doing more harm to our teens than we think. Child and teen development specialist, Robyn Silverman, warns “The sexualization of girls at this age is very dangerous. It makes girls feel hurried. … And feeling hurried can cause anxiety, depression.”
What do you think of the new teen generation that has to constantly think of how they will be viewed by the people in their social network?
Tell us how you and your teen deal with this kind of pressure.