As parents, one of our top priorities is to ensure the safety of our children. It’s far easier to contain our daughters within physical boundaries but social media creeps into our homes and has the potential to cause harm even when we think they are safe.
Throughout the year, Rockhampton Girls Grammar School has supported our girls with numerous education opportunities on how to stay safe while navigating the web including social media. However, the online safety of our daughters isn’t just about the high-profile risks that receive a lot of media attention, it is also about the way it can make them feel.
I recently spoke to a couple of parents who removed their daughter’s devices for a period of time and they commented ‘they had their daughter back’. It is easy for our daughters to fall into the trap of thinking the posts they see on social media reflect real life. People create online personas that often only show the best parts of their lives. When our daughters view these posts, they start making comparisons and can be left feeling that they, or the life they are living, doesn’t ‘meet the standard’.
The pressures from social media can have very real consequences for all of us. If social media is having a negative effect of the mental health of your daughter, the Australian Government’s e-safety website https://www.esafety.gov.au/ has some valuable tips for young people on how to manage this. Key recommendations include: questioning why they might be posting something; critically evaluating what they see online; unfollowing accounts that make them feel bad; having ‘screen-free’ time by turning off their devices to break the cycle of constantly scrolling; and talking to someone who can help if they are feeling isolated while everyone else appears to be having fun.
Social media can be a wonderful tool for communication but our daughters need support to navigate it successfully. If you are interested in reading further, the Government’s website also has some valuable information for parents and younger children.
Acting Deputy Principal - Students