Advice

Judge Jay-Jay on dealing with social media trolls

More FM radio diva Jay-Jay Feeney delivers her verdict on your biggest dilemmas

Social media stress

Hey, Judge Jay-Jay!

I need help advising my 15-year-old daughter. She’s obsessed with Instagram and TikTok, and is glued to her phone every spare minute. I know this is normal for a teenager, but I can see it’s making her depressed. She is so concerned by how many “likes” her posts get and what people are commenting, and she really takes it hard when she receives negative feedback. I have tried to tell her to block those people and that likes online don’t make you any more or less popular in real life, but she says I’m out of touch and don’t understand. I’ve tried to ban her from social media and her phone, but the anger I get from her when I do isn’t worth the trouble. Help me, please!

Rose, Auckland

Kia ora, Rose!

This is a tricky one! But I bet every parent reading this can relate. Think of your social-media profile as your house. The people who follow you are guests. You wouldn’t let people come into your house and insult you, so why would you let them do it online? Kick them out. They can insult you elsewhere, but never let them stay at your party. There is no shame or harm in clicking the block button. In fact, it can be quite satisfying!

Almost every person on social media has to deal with trolls or negative feedback at some point. Think about high-profile celebrities like Taylor Swift for example. People say mean things on her socials all the time, but they don’t personally know her. They’re probably extremely jealous of her. If Taylor listened to the trolls, she wouldn’t be as successful as she is today, so she ignores them. And look who’s winning – she is!

Remind your daughter that people who say mean things are not her friends. They must be very unhappy in themselves to do such a thing. Happy people don’t waste time making negative comments online. The only people whose comments she should take to heart are those of her actual friends and family. For example, if a random person named Jeff tells me I suck on the radio, that’s his opinion and I can’t change it. Nor do I care. Because I know I don’t suck. The ratings prove that! But if my partner, friend or family member told me I sucked, then I would take notice.

But people you love would never do that, unless it was necessary. So my point is, she should try to let any comments from people out of your inner circle roll off a duck’s back and then block them. They do not deserve your online connection.

As for the number of likes on a post, they are a measure of how much someone liked the photo, not how much they like you. If you get 10 likes or a million on a pic, does that make you a better person? No. She needs to be herself, embrace herself and not let social media decide her worth.

A problem shared is a problem halved! Share your sticky situations with Jay-Jay – email [email protected].

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