As a teenager, there are a lot of pressures to deal with. The social and academic pressures of school life, perhaps the stress of leaving one school for another, fitting in, being accepted and acceptable, studying, keeping the family happy with your progress, are all potentially stressful considerations.

Then, of course, there can be tensions at home, family worries, sibling problems, and the personal problems that often accompany adolescence; feeling different, unsure of yourself, comparing yourself to others, fear of missing out.

Social media is a natural part of many people’s lives with statistics regularly reported on its usage. Analysts say we check our mobile phones every 12 minutes and spend an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes every day on the internet, mostly on sites owned by Google and Facebook.

While there is value in being connected to the larger outside world, there are also troubling aspects about the Internet and especially around social media that cause concern regarding its influence on teens.

Social media can be a force for good or ill. Certainly, chat rooms and forums can be a great place for someone who is lonely and friendless, with no one to talk to about how they are feeling. Finding comfort, answers to questions from people who are experiencing similar problems can keep a teen from feeling alienated, isolated, and alone.

It can also help us tap into unexpected audiences, reach people we might never have been able to introduce ourselves to, and consequently their friends. We have the potential with social media to speak to a large audience, a community of like-minded people.

But there are other aspects of social networks that are not so rosy. Some degree of caution is necessary. Living in a virtual world where we constantly check our phones can convince us that online is the real world, where the things we see and are told online are the truth.

That’s why it’s important;

– Choose who to follow with caution and recognize what their agenda might be. Be alert to the dangers of being groomed by someone who is not who or what they say they are, encouraging you to do things they are not comfortable with. Or perhaps they aim to become influencers, are allied with specific products, gradually introducing and recommending certain products or services, courting new followers, and essentially executing sales pitches. Take a step back and see what is really going on.

– Remember that it is your call, you can unfollow if you want. If something no longer follows you or you feel dissatisfied with what you see regularly, you can choose to go offline and stop it. And if posts pop up that you don’t like, are distressed, negatively affected, or unsettled, trust your gut and block them. It’s your device, your media stream; Close the door and don’t let them in.

– Set a limit for your online time, and use that time more efficiently. Yes, you can see your family online as a real and key part of your life, relationships that are genuine and supportive. It’s the only place where you can be yourself and you need to keep that in your life, but real person-to-person relationships are important too. Increasingly, many people work, shop, and manage their lives online, so it can provide fewer and fewer reasons to leave home. But relationships, learning to interact with others, developing social skills, understanding yourself better, all require getting away from devices and engaging in face-to-face communications.

– Meet others in person. and experience the spontaneity and diversity of life. Embrace personal growth and development by accepting that sometimes things may not go so well. You can make mistakes, get rejected, look foolish. That’s okay, it’s part of life and an important way to evolve and mature as a person.

– take over and decide not to spread negativity and gossip on your social media. Commit to sharing only good news. You may think that one person alone can’t make much of a difference, but when each of us takes a stand, we can sprinkle sunlight on our little corner of the world. Be the person who shares positivity, good results and happiness. Influence, perhaps in a small way, your social media feed, your world, your audience.

– Get out of your comfort zone. Join a class, a gym, a group. Visit the same places regularly and you will find that you start to meet the same people. Get used to making an effort, dressing up, having to show up on time – a different set of skills required in modern offline life. Challenge yourself every day.

In the same way that you have found your place and been accepted online, remember to also keep an eye on the offline world and allow yourself to meet many of those people who equally share your worries and insecurities. Observe how others behave together, get some tips and advice to learn different ways to contribute to conversations, improve your social skills and develop a more confident approach in every area of ​​life.