An Open Letter to Teen and Tween Girls About 'Like' Culture

An excerpt from Jo Langford's new book 'Spare Me The Talk: Girls' gives straight talk to girls on navigating social media

Since you were babies, you’ve been having relationships and making connections better than the boys. It’s one of your girl superpowers. Social media is one of many ways to do this.

As girls, you are very in tune to relationships, but sometimes (because girls tend to do this differently than boys) you are socialized to be more aware of how others perceive you and are more encouraged to try to be liked by all. 

We all like receiving attention by way of likes, comments, retweets, and upvotes on social media. It can light up the brain’s reward centers and trigger a hit of dopamine that feels good to everyone, and it can feel very addictive for some.

But it is really important that you make sure you have other, real-world ways to get your self-esteem needs met that do not involve screens.

FOMO is an acronym for the Fear of Missing Out; that creepy feeling we sometimes get when we are not plugged into our devices and we sense that 'something cool or important is happening somewhere and I am missing it!'

Social media is meant to pass the time, not fill it. It is meant to help communicate with others, but not for truly connecting. It’s important to create space in our lives to unplug, but if you find that you are having a hard time doing that without having a FOMO reaction, then that is definitely something you need to work on. 

A similar phenomenon called “Facebook depression” occurs when comparing yourselves to others’ cool blogs or profiles, friends and followers, posts, pictures, bodies and lives leaves you feeling crappy about yourself.

As a woman, you are way more susceptible to this kind of depression than men. Remember that most people are more likely to post about the exciting, fun, funny, and positive things that are happening, not the sucky parts of their lives. Everyone has pain, and it’s important to remember we are not alone. 

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