As we dive into Part 2 | How Does Social Media Affect Your Dance Life?, please take a quick look at Part 1 if you haven’t already.
Each week I am impressed by the teens who share in our Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (Y.P.A.D.) “Self-Esteem and Identity in Performing Arts” seminars, where dancers have an opportunity to process the effects of social media. It is clear that teens are experts on keeping up with all of the cool and trending topics! You are also the experts when you share some of the not-so-fun feelings that can accompany your daily browsing and posting on social media. Many of you have taken our anonymous Y.P.A.D. surveys to help build our data on dancers as well as the More Than Dancers quiz Are You Addicted To Social Media? Dancers across the world agree that social media influences how they view themselves as artists and people. At the end of this article, YOU will have a chance to let your voice be heard on this topic!
Remember, as I stated in Part 1of this series, social media is awesome when used in a healthy way! However, it can also cause teens to incessantly monitor their own and others’ feeds, followers, likes, videos and photos. According to, www.commonsensemedia.com teens spend about 9 hours a day on media! For some, life online becomes even more real and significant than the actual life they are living in the moment. Dance class, competitions and dance events become fertile ground to supply teens’ online accounts with the desire to grow their popularity and personas. This behavior leads to an emotional roller coaster that affects self-esteem and identity. Many teens express anxiety and depression due to this cycle of posting on social media followed by tirelessly refreshing their apps in hope of acquiring more likes, followers and attention.
The good news is that through MINDFUL SOCIAL MEDIA USE you can take control of these negative moments and turn them into empowering wins. When you recognize behaviors that are harmful to your self-esteem, you can then exert your power to make what I call PSL (PRO-SELF-LOVE) choices!
Now, let’s look at what teens are saying…
Y.P.A.D. surveyed 312 dancers ages 12-17 from 2013-2015:
When asked why their most popular pictures/videos online received the most attention, the top four answers were:
2.) Duck Lips/Trout Pouts
3.) Pics/Videos with Famous Choreographers
4.) Acro Dance/Tricks
When asked how social media affects their body image, the top four answers were:
1.) I am more self-conscious about my body, talent and fashion.
2.) I find myself comparing my “look” and body to others more.
3.) I notice more flaws on my face.
4.) I have started skipping meals and dieting.
When asked to share what leads to positive emotions on social media, the top three answers were:
1.) I feel good when people like my pictures and posts.
2.) I feel popular when people follow me.
3.) I feel good when I get tagged.
Direct quotes from dancers in Y.P.A.D. seminars:
“Social media has made me see my flaws through a huge magnifying glass.” – Female, 16 years old
“Social media has made some dancing for girls about twerking and being half-dressed and for guys you’re cool only if you do the popular moves. I want to change this.” – Male, 15 years old
“I feel a lot of pressure to be hot and skinny. I do compare my body to celebrity dancers online.” – Female, 12 years old
“My teachers tell me to tone down my dancing because they say it is too sexy but I do not think they get how many compliments I get at school and online because of it.” – Female, 14 years old
The survey responses above exhibit a pendulum of emotions that dancers need to process. Social media can affects not only teens’ personal lives, but it impacts dance lives as well.
Let your voice be heard! You are invited to join a Y.P.A.D. Mindful Social Media Fast! Advisory Panel member, Dr. Tomi-Ann Roberts, (Check out her extensive bio HERE) has created an ANONYMOUS electronic pre and post survey for all participants so we can use this data to help other teens understand their power with social media!
If you would like to join the Social Media Fast, email me at [email protected] NO LATER THAN Wednesday, February 10th. Over the three days your social media fast you will spend time having face-to-face interactions with loved ones, enjoy unscheduled free time, journal, volunteer, engage in hobbies, share your feelings with your peers and support each other through the process!
In Part 3 we will highlight some fun and creative ways you can use social media to make a difference in your life and the lives of others! Social media rocks, I just want to make sure it’s not “rocking” your self-esteem!