Does social media show teenagers 2 worlds they can’t possibly reconcile?

Just back from a long walk with my good friend, Suzanne.

As usual we try to put the world to rights, or, more likely these days, accept there’s not much we can do to change things.

We both have teenage sons and frequently share the highs and lows including some hilarious moments not fit for print.

Today, though, we were comparing our own teenage years to those of our kids.

We went through the same search for identity and independence, but somehow it didn’t seem as complicated.

We concluded that the big difference for young people today is social media.

On the one hand it presents the impossibly perfect world of celebrities (accessible to young people in a way it never was 30 years ago). But on the other teenage angst with all its experimentation and heart-rending failures writ large.

Is it any wonder, then, that some overthinking, sensitive teenagers feel inadequate and see themselves in the numerous scare stories reflected back at them on Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram?

We look to our peers to help us make sense of the world, but that world can seem ugly and uncaring on social media. The classic teen problems of parental pressure, relentless homework and unrequited love can be magnified a million times over.

More worrying is the solution some kids come up with, whether it’s drink, drugs, self-harm and in the saddest of cases, suicide.

How can we help our children adapt to the relentless onslaught of information, which academics already say is having a detrimental effect on their mental health

I don’t have the answers, but think the way kids cope very much depends on their personalities.

Myers Briggs have made millions out of their type indicator tool, and I would never for a minute suggest which personality types are more prone to overthinking than others, but it’s something to consider.

Take a personality test based on the MB approach here