Despina Senatore, South African founder and owner of Purposeful Woman, believes Social Media is not the biggest barrier in teenage girls becoming assertive and resilient adults.
It’s how society limits them.
The personal development coach, and mom of three, Despina wants to help raise a generation of young women who feel confident to thrive in a modern world.
The ubiquity of social media is usually the number one suspect when it comes to high-school girls' low self-esteem and lack of confidence. But at its epicentre, many girls don't reach their full potential because they're told that they must conform to what society, and certain cultures, expect from them.
Here are three ways she has devised to help teen girls grow into confident and resilient adults:
Create a family culture of equality
Sometimes even our best-intentioned actions can reinforce stereotypes and place limitations on our girls. In fact, children become aware of gender stereotypes, and how they should behave because of it, by two years old.
By creating a culture of equality within the family and being mindful of the language we use, we can show girls of all ages that their gender does not limit them.
They're not bossy, they're confident; yes, they're naturally social, but they're also naturally good at maths; and while that doll is cool, so is that truck.
Support her to make choices based on her interests and abilities and not on her gender, Despina advises.
Also Read: 'She won for being ginormously kind': What the Miss Universe win means to SA's girls
Use social media as a positive tool
Social media can be a source of insecurity because our human tendency is to compare ourselves to others, and this tendency is worse during the teen years.
These days, it's impossible to keep teens off Instagram and TikTok. Therefore, it's crucial to not only give your teen girl the tools to deal with social media, but to also show her how to use it to learn.
Social media can be a tool to build confidence, resilience and launch movements – look at Greta Thunberg, for example.
Show her what's possible
Frequently, girls don't select professions in traditionally male-dominated industries because they don’t believe they are options available to them. Or they didn't know how to get there.
From coding to aeronautical engineering, there are hundreds of opportunities for teen girls to explore that didn't exist when they were born, and you should encourage the teen girl in your life to explore these opportunities.
In her new book, Soar! Despina aims to help teenage girls thrive during their teen years and open their eyes to endless possibilities.
Find out more here: Soar! The new guidebook for teenage girls
Compiled for Parent24 by Anneline Hlangani.
Share your story with us, and we could publish your mail. Anonymous contributions are welcome.