“For most teens, the Internet is a fundamental part of life,” according to Dana Udall-Weiner, Ph.D, a psychologist who specializes in media literacy. It’s how they communicate and interact. Teens use social media sites like Facebook for everything from casual talks to breakups, she said.
With social media a major part of teens’ lives, it’s important they have a healthy relationship with the Internet. What does this look like?
According to Udall-Weiner, it resembles any healthy relationship: It has boundaries.
It also shouldn’t have to meet all their needs, including emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual, she said. For instance, sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest should never replace face-to-face interactions, she said. Instead, they should supplement them. That’s because online interactions lack the emotional depth and support of real-time relationships. “…[I]t’s hard to know whether someone is trustworthy, loyal, and invested in your well-being.”