Tanner Clark shares his motivational messages for teens online, speaking out about self-worth, and self-love. He says there is a self-worth crises our teens/youth are facing due to social media, and talks about what we (as parents AND teens) can do about it. Teens today, in the digital age are facing things that the older generation couldn’t have even imagined.

While there is so much good online, social media also comes with the bad such as unreal expectations, constant pressure to be better, and cyber-bullying. Social media is filled with everybody’s “best”, and faux happiness. The result is that our teens today are attaching their self-worth to needing to be like the people they see on social media, and anything else means “I’m not good enough”, which is the biggest lie ever, Tanner tells us.

This is creating a vicious cycle of unhappiness and a need to “virtually keep up with the joneses”, to get more likes, and fill that happiness void. Likes will never equal love. It will never lead to happiness. Social media is created by brilliant people and designed to keep you there. It’s difficult to break the cycle, and even worse that most don’t know they are trapped. Only 25% of teens think social media is negative.

Studies show that teens who are on social media three or more hours a day are less happy than those who aren’t, and that even thirty minutes less makes a significant difference. That’s thirty minutes less comparing to others, thirty minutes less judging others, thirty minutes less being exposed to things that they shouldn’t be. That’s Thirty minutes more to connect in real life, thirty minutes more time to be present, and thirty minutes more time to create and grow.

What do we do? Tanner says every family situation is different. If you can wait to get smartphone, great- there are a lot of other options like Gabb wireless. If they do have a smartphone then we as parents can’t be blind to the dangers on social media. Our kids are not blind to it, they see it every single day.

Talk with your kids about the dangers. The tough part is that we trust our kids, but we can’t trust the people on the other side of that smart phone. Keeping your kids safe starts with connecting with them personally and individually every single day. Love them as much as they need to be loved.

Each kid needs a different level of love. It’s not our choice how much that is. Is theirs. And IF we don’t give it to them they will try and find it other places and social media is one of those places…but it will never be enough.

Put down your own phone and spend time with them. If the phone is between you and them then the phone is most important. Wrap them in a BEAR HUG every day. Kids need to feel that personal touch.

Tanner is available to meet with and speak with your teens/youth/kids/community to help them know their value, fill them with belief, and help them see how social media is affecting their lives.

Follow Tanner on instagram at @realtannerclark or email him at realtannerclark@gmail.com