Adolescence is a particularly vulnerable phase of life. Not only in
physiological terms, but also because this is the phase in which one’s
personality and character are formed. All of the weaknesses within our
children come to the fore and must be managed – and at times, corrected –
including their relationship with technology and the internet.
Many things have changed about the way we use the internet since its birth
in 1983. Today the internet can be found in every part of the world,
including our work places and homes. It has brought many positive changes
to our lives. Unfortunately, however, various studies show that some
negative consequences have surfaced.
Personality and Vulnerability: Tips for a Healthy Relationship with the
‘Self-esteem’ is a term that has always been central to the world of
education. And now it takes on particular importance with the wave of
social networks, which serve as “display cases” in which to observe others
and be observed. Therefore, there it brings with the risk of hurting one’s
Two interesting studies on this topic have been conducted which have had
noteworthy results. The first study analyzes adolescents’ use of social
networks in relation to their self-esteem. This study evaluated the
different sensitivity that each individual has when using social networks.
In the end, even though the amount of time on social networks contributes
to the amount of total time they use the internet, it must be taken into
account that some people are more predisposed than others to suffer
negative effects from “being online” depending on their personality.
Another topic this study focused on was the difference between two types of
self-esteem: basal and barometric. Basal self-esteem
grows more slowly over the course of a lifetime. While barometric
self-esteem is instantaneous and arises in a shorter amount of time.
During the adolescent years, it is necessary to emphasize barometric
self-esteem, particularly with regard to the use of social networks. On
these platforms, everying works via ‘clicking,’ as images and videos flash
before our eyes that have the potential to bring about significant changes
in an adolescent’s self-esteem, the study found.
Of the two hypotheses of this study (scenario 1: short-term effects due to
the usage of social networks on self-esteem; and hypothesis 2: assessing
the heterogeneity of each individual), we have concluded that adolescents’
self-esteem changes based on various events and experiences they have daily
and that it is important to assess the barometric instability that
fluctuates in the short-term. Furthermore, this imbalance will occur
especially if the adolescent has a vulnerable personality or presents a
personality with “dark” tendencies (for example, Machiavellianism,
narcissism, psychopathy, sadism, or resentment).
This second study demonstrates the relationship between different dark
characterists, problematic internet use, and various online activities,
with quite remarkable data.
The importance of mentoring and character formation
As much as we say that today’s generation of teenagers are “digital
natives,” this does not mean that we should “abandon them to their fate.”
It is precisely because we are in an era of profound change – in
which the internet can greatly influence the character of children and
young people – that parents and educators must always be attentive and
proactive. For example, taking an interest in how much time they spend on
social networks and how they feel, showing them ways to solve any problem
that might arise while browsing, putting security checks on electronic
In addition, it is so important that – from an early age – young people are
educated on virtues and moral values.
Just as it is now fashionable to specialize in medicine or other university
fields, so too should be the education of adolescents and children. Each
person is unique and unreplaceable. Not only are there differences between
men and women (the results of both studies show strong differences between
the two sexes), but each and every person is different and merits his own
Authenticity on social media
It is common knowledge that the virtual world is overflowing with
positivity, as people tend to show only the nice, positive aspects of their
lives. It is wise to keep this in mind and inform younger people about this
phenomenon because, otherwise it might seem as though everyone else is
having a great time or is happy, besides ourselves. This very comparison
generates a lot of frustration and can also lead to depression.
The key to boosting self-esteem, in circumstances such as these, lies in
being authentic. Life is imperfect, and showing up imperfect and without
strict “guidelines” imposed by society can benefit teens by restoring their
self-confidence. Moreover, real life is so much more beautiful than a fake
life full of facades.
In conclusion, it should be noted that proper formation is needed at school and at home for pupils, parents, and teachers. It is important to
be up-to-date, not so much on the technical use of the internet, but more
on the “emotional” use of them.