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A group of girl friends spend time together at their local county fair carnival and take a selfie.

Images: The Pressures of Social Media

Author: Adrianna and Ryan Walden
Published Date: Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Have you ever scrolled through social media and without even realizing it, compared yourself to the handpicked, filtered images and posts that people publish about themselves?

If you have, I can almost guarantee that your child has, too. For teens and adults, looking at social media can induce many unnecessary stressors, including:

  • Seeing people posting about events to which you haven’t been invited.
  • Feeling pressure to post positive and attractive content about yourself.
  • Feeling pressure to get comments and likes on your posts.
  • Having someone post something about you that you cannot change or control.
  • Feeling like other’s lives are better than yours.
  • Comparing yourself to filtered images.

For teens, their social media image can become a false sense of identity.

And, what about FOMO? What is FOMO you may ask? It is what teens call the “Fear of Missing Out.”

Social media can make teens (and adults) feel relevant and provide a false sense of inclusion. Teens often yearn for that sense of belonging and don’t want to miss out on something everyone else is “in the know” about. There is pressure to stay on media, even when it is stressful.

Talking with your kids before allowing them to engage in social media can help reduce or eliminate these extra and unnecessary stressors.

Here are a few conversation starters:

  • What are some healthy ways to find validation and self-esteem?
  • The number of likes a post tallies is not a reflection of your value.
  • Not everything you see is as it seems. Those picture-perfect images are someone’s camera highlight reel. It’s not too often we get to see all the images that camera took.
  • What is a real friend and how is that different from “friends” and “followers” on social media?

CHKD partners with community schools to show the film, LIKE, a documentary that explores the impact of social media on our lives and the effects of technology on the brain. Visit or contact for more information.

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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

About Adrianna and Ryan  Walden Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 14 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs. Both have enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for the past eight years. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy school-age child. The Walden's also lead a weekly community group through their church for married couples and their children.