Has social media changed the game for our girls?
Sure, feeling pressure to look a certain way has always been there.
But it hasn’t always followed us around all day every day.
Now our girls can hardly escape it.
It’s literally in their back pocket all day every day.
Demanding attention. Causing them to compare.
To judge their average day against everyone else’s highlight reel.
As a photographer for teen girls over the past few years, I’ve sat on my couch with these girls and listened to them share the anxiety they face daily. The pressure they feel to conform. The bullying they experience from people hiding behind spam accounts.
It shows up in different ways for all of them. For some it’s anxiety. For others it’s eating disorders. It’s body dysmorphia. It’s depression.
It’s debilitating. And it’s ugly. And it’s the enemy.
You know what’s most surprising? Nobody is safe.
It’s not just the shy outcast who faces these issues. The ones you’d never expect – the ones who always appear polished and perfect are carrying the weight of this too.
I hear from their moms as well. They’re desperate to do something for their daughters and don’t know where to start.
How do you battle something that seems inescapable?
It’s time to change the story.
We need to equip our girls with the tools they need to fight this battle everyday.
Here are six small things we can start doing today to change the story for our girls’ tomorrow.
THE SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLKIT
1. Teach truth over feelings.
Our feelings tell lies. When we let our feelings lead the way, we can become slaves to our emotions. Feelings aren’t facts. Our feelings can rob us of the freedom and peace that we have in Jesus. We have to choose what we know over what we feel. We know that we are made in the image of Christ and that we are chosen and loved, wholly, exactly as we are.
2. Limit time on social media.
If it’s the first thing we do every morning and the last thing we do every night, maybe our priorities are out of order? Start by limiting the time you spend on social media. Choose to start and end the day with scripture, prayer, and truth. Let’s teach our girls to arm themselves with truth before opening themselves up to the lies that they are bound to be faced with each day.
3. Unfollow accounts that cause negative emotions.
If certain accounts continue to cause our girls to compare, to critique and to criticize, they’ve got to go. It’s not our job to tell our girls each account that they should unfollow. We need to teach the process of identifying negative feelings as they come up and making an active decision to do something about it. Let’s empower our girls to take control of their own mental health.
4. Practice positive affirmations.
Maybe it’s sending sweet notes in their lunch boxes or maybe it’s encouraging them to write their own mirror messages to memorize and claim as their own. Here are some favorites you can start with:
- You are altogether beautiful, my love. There is no flaw in you. – Song of Solomon 4:7
- Today I choose joy.
- I will not stress over things I can’t control.
- I am enough.
- God’s plan for me is good.
- We are God’s masterpiece. – Ephesians 2:10
5. Celebrate them.
Celebrate them when they deserve it. Celebrate them when they don’t. Offer grace when they act out and show them that you understand what they’re facing. Spend time together, have meaningful conversation, open up and share your own struggles.
6. Seek professional help.
When it feels too big to handle, seek help from those who are equipped. There is such a stigma against mental illness, but we have to overcome that for our girls. It might be as simple as weekly appointments with a counselor, and it might be as scary as inpatient treatment, but whatever it takes, our girls are worth it.
A NEW PHOTO EXPERIENCE FOR OUR GIRLS.
One of the best ways to celebrate our girls is with a photo shoot – and not the kind where they take endless selfies, adding filters and face tuning until they’ve created the image they want to the world to see.
Let them experience something real. An actual photo shoot where we’re not faking anything.
A photo shoot that celebrates who she really is. Imperfect, unfinished, UNDONE. The girl God created her to be.
Make it a Valentine’s Day gift or a gift JUST BECAUSE. Because you love her. As she is.
Would you or someone you know benefit from a photo shoot like this? A day to let go of the comparison? A day to say goodbye to self-doubt? A day to build her up? To boost her self-confidence? A day that reminds her who she was made to be?
Have questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. We can’t wait to hear from you.
You are altogether beautiful, my love. There is no flaw in you. – Song of Solomon 4:7