As I type this, scattered around me is five years worth of research investigating how dancers FEEL after social media interactions. As I read all of the feedback, I am continually impressed by what these awesome teens have to say and their intelligent insight!
Social media has many wonderful qualities when it is used and managed in a healthy way! In fact, there is a good chance you are reading this article from a link you found on social media. More Than Dancers and I utilize social media every day to engage with the people we care about, which includes YOU! This three-part series will dig a little deeper and explore how social media is affecting you and your dance life.
There has been an incredible amount of research done on social media’s effect on self-esteem, body image, bullying, the brain, Internet safety, selfies and most recently the increase in injuries due to young dancers trying to emulate what they see online. Check out the links at the end of this article for a more in-depth look. My non-profit, Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (Y.P.A.D.) is an organization devoted to researching and conducting interactive seminars which focus on young dancers and their connections to social media. Y.P.A.D is investigating how this social media interaction impacts teenagers’ emotions, self-esteem, as well as, their dancing. We need more of this because, YOU, the teens, drive the trends. The more your voice is heard, the more companies will start recognizing the importance of positive, safe and healthy social media use!
Part of my work with youth is educating them about the amazing neuroplasticity of the brain, which is its ability to rewire from traumas or negative thought patterns! During my master classes and seminars, students and I discuss how they can choose to empower themselves and shift self-degrading thoughts by being mindful of the potentially damaging material found on social media. One of the many things that keeps me motivated about this topic is that many teens have not been challenged to reflect and process whether their choices online are negatively impacting their lives. During these seminars students learn to identify negative beliefs about themselves and connect those feelings to an experience they’ve had online. It is life changing for students when they gain a better understanding about how they are affected by social media and how they can make healthier choices in the future. It is equally powerful when a dancer recognizes how positivity can be spread on social media and decides to use it in this way.
There is evidence that social media can actually become an addiction but instead of a substance it is an emotional dependency. If you haven’t yet, take the More Than Dancers quiz here: Are You Addicted to Social Media?
Click HERE to watch this fun and informative video on 5 CRAZY ways social media can change your brain!
To prep for Part 2, where we will further discuss your dance life, start to be more aware how social media makes you feel about yourself, your dancing, your body, your looks and your thoughts about others.