When girls get addicted to "Likes"

Educator, Rachel Simmons, Author of Odd Girl Out, discusses girls' obsession with social media, getting addicted to "likes," and what parents can do about it.
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When girls get addicted to "Likes"

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One of the reasons why girls are so addicted to likes is that they're addicted to relationship. And so, social media gives girls a way to physically see how many friends do I have, who's friends with whom, who's hanging out with whom, and it gives them the illusion that they can actually have a sense of how liked I really am, when of course they can't. And so, part of our job as parents is to say to girls, look, the way that you're going to know if your friends like you is how often they want to spend time with you, is what your conversations are like with them. Social media is one outlet for connection, but it doesn't define your worth, it doesn't mean that you're a better person, or that you're a person that is more popular. What I always say to girls is, if you have 67 likes on a photo, the only thing that means is-then I pause-you have 67 likes on a photo; that's it. That's the only thing it means. Growing up in my generation, you never really knew after school who was hanging out with whom. You had a telephone. That was your only channel to finding out what was going on. Now, everything's changed. Kids see physically what each other is doing, who people are hanging out with, and what that does is it makes kids think that they can actually get the answer to the question do people like me, what do people think of me, am I cool, am I pretty, just by getting likes. And that puts them on a roller coaster because the fact is, social media does make them feel prettier, it does make them feel more liked. But because they can see everything, they can also see when they're not invited; they can also see when they don't get that many likes for the new profile picture or selfie that they're posting. And that roller coaster is something that not every girl knows how to get off of, which is one of the reasons why parents need to regulate kids’ access. The more a girl is desperate to be online, the more she needs a parent to step in and regulate her access.

Educator, Rachel Simmons, Author of Odd Girl Out, discusses girls' obsession with social media, getting addicted to "likes," and what parents can do about it.

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Expert Bio

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Rachel Simmons

Author & Educator

Rachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. As an educator, Rachel works internationally to empower young women to be more authentic, assertive and self-aware.

Rachel is a Vassar graduate and Rhodes Scholar from New York. The co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute, she is an experienced curriculum writer and educator who works with schools and organizations around the world. She currently develops leadership programs for undergraduate women at the Center for Work and Life at Smith College. She has previously worked as a classroom teacher in Massachusetts and South Africa.

Rachel was the host of the recent PBS television special, “A Girl’s Life,” and is a contributing writer and advice columnist for Teen Vogue.

Rachel has appeared on Oprah and the Today show, and appears regularly in the national me- dia. Odd Girl Out was adapted into a highly acclaimed Lifetime television movie. Rachel lives in western Massachusetts with her daughter and West Highland Terrier, Rosie, who is currently taking private workshops with Rachel to learn how to stop bullying other dogs.

For more information, please visit www.rachelsimmons.com.

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