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May 2024Vol. 25, No. 4Empowering Young People in the Age of Social Media

A new web resource from Promising Futures—a project of Futures Without Violence—offers some practical tips for supporting young people as they navigate social media and learn to accept and care for their bodies.

A 1-minute introductory video prompts parents and caregivers with a question: Are you concerned about the effects of social media on your child’s self-esteem and body image? The video notes that, while many teens report social media has been detrimental to their self-image, caring adults can help mitigate these negative effects by creating nurturing, healing environments that encourage body acceptance and self-compassion.

The web resource highlights authentic youth perspectives on the effects social media has had on their lives. The resource explains why creating safe and affirming environments is so important and provides the following list of open-ended questions that parents can use to engage youth in conversation:

  • What do you enjoy and dislike about social media?
  • What things help you feel at home in your body, and what things make you feel uneasy?
  • When was the last time you felt proud, ashamed, or something else about your appearance while on social media? What created those feelings?
  • Are there times when you don’t think about your appearance?
  • How does your body help you do the things you love to do?

Not all social media is harmful, though. It can also be a place of inclusion and appreciation for all types of people—a place that can help youth foster self-acceptance and love. The web resource offers a selection of positive social media accounts and resources.

To learn more, view How to Empower Young People in the Age of Social Media: Supporting Body Acceptance & Self-Compassion on the Promising Futures website.