Contemplate Before the Click – Teens & Social Media

Contemplate Before the Click – Teens & Social Media
Photo Credit To Jason Howie

10-15 minutes = academic work
45-50 minutes = social media, chatting, gaming
**Done by informal survey

93% = nonverbal (tone of voice, body language, facial expression, etc)
7% = verbal (spoken language, word choice)
40% of adults age 18-35 regret posting personal information

Teens management of their profiles can take a variety of forms – Pew Research asked teen social media users about five specific activities that relate to the content they post and found that:

  • 59% have deleted or edited something that they posted in the past.
  • 53% have deleted comments from others on their profile or account.
  • 45% have removed their name from photos that have been tagged to identify them.
  • 31% have deleted or deactivated an entire profile or account.
  • 19% have posted updates, comments, photos, or videos that they later regretted sharing


Facebook launched in 2004 followed by many more social–based platforms such as SnapChat. This means as a society we are still collectively trying to understand how these mediums affect communication, and how to effectively transmit ideas without 97% of typical communication available.

Teens are often gripped by the social pressure to be online. This is exacerbated by the format of these immediate-response-required platforms, leading to various consequences on self-esteem, friendships and social-emotional learning. For example, many teens have jumped to correlate social media interactions with self-worth by measuring post “likes” and comments. When a teenager does not receive expected positive feedback from peers, he/she can quickly jump to conclusions…

My friend is upset with me…
I did something wrong…
My friends hate me…

At a time when the pre-frontal cortex is still maturing, quality decision-making is often compromised. Teens (and young adults) make knee-jerk reactions to social media and then conduct a series of misleading ‘research.’ Often the research means the teenager analyzes another person’s online activity to see when the other person was online last, if he/she was chatting to others (ignoring the post in question) and texting other friends to see if the post was upsetting.

In addition to compromised decision-making, teens are at a stage of development where they are looking for groups with whom to identify as a way of testing and forming their own identities. It gives them the sense of freedom when they can share their deepest, darkest secrets with a community. Not surprisingly, online this can have very detrimental consequences. Studies show that 19% of teens regret something posted, shared or communicated online whilst 40% of Internet users between the ages of 18-35 have regretted posting personal information.


  • Am I okay with everyone seeing this now and for a long time after?
  • Does this actually represent what I mean to communicate?
  • Am I reacting to something?
  • Is this just venting?
  • Is this an appropriate forum to emotionally dump on?
  • Is it offensive in any way?


  • Support children as they begin social media interactions: Talk about the complexity of using only the written word. By answering each ‘Contemplate Before You Click’ question, the teenager can predict possible pitfalls in a post.
  • Discuss drawbacks of social media: Why is social media good? Where have you/the teenager seen social media act for positive change? Find examples where social media has caused confusion, misunderstanding, judgmental discussions, and so forth. Discuss how the original poster could have done the post differently or if it would have been better to keep the post off social media.
  • Discuss what to do and how the teenager can react is something does go poorly. Practising dialogue and possible interactions can help reduce anxiety and prepare the individual before any potential ‘crisis’ arises.
  • Understand that online means ‘forever.’ Discuss situations where social media has caused long-lasting harm.
  • Discuss the social pressure to be online, such as how can the teenager respond to pressure from friends to join different platforms or hide interactions from public viewers.

Approaching online communication thoughtfully and with increased self-awareness will result in better interactions over social media, overall more positive self-confidence and more positive friendship interactions.

About Dr. Quratulain Zaidi
Dr Quratulain Zaidi, BSc. Hons, MSc, MSc, PhD., is a mother, as well as a British-qualified and registered Clinical Psychologist who has lived and worked in Hong Kong and Singapore for 14 years. She specialises in assisting families in areas including parenting, teen issues, cyber-safety, marriage guidance, postnatal depression, stress and anxiety disorders, depression, bullying, eating challenges, and self-harm. She is an expert in educational assessments and learning challenges in children and teens including ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia and ASD.

Learn more at




Washington Post: Risky Behaviour in Teens Explained by How Their Brains Change

PBS: The Teen Brain

Journal of Adolescent Health:  Adolescent Maturity and the Brain

Science Direct: The Digital Revolution and Adolescent Brain Evolution

Pediatrics: Caffeine and Technology on Adolescents

Cell: Effects of Internet on the Adolescent Brain

Science Illustrated: Teenage Brains in the Digital World



Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives

It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

The Parent’s Handbook for Talking WITH Your Teens About SOCIAL MEDIA: The RIGHT WORDS and EFFECTIVE Techniques to Get Your Kids Safely On Board (Raising Cyber-Sensible Kids) (Volume 1)


Protect Your Kids Identity Online 





Post source : Dr. Quratulain Zaidi

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