The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you somebody else” – E.E Cummings 

Should I post the picture at 3:00pm right when everyone gets out of school? Or do I wait until 9:00pm? When will everyone be on their phone, I want to get the most likes possible on this picture?”

“I hate her, she only posted that picture because she looks good and I look horrible!”

“You know she is only posting that to make sure I know she’s with him”.

“I’ve only gotten 100 likes on this pic, should I delete it?”

Unfortunately, we live in a world that is governed by social media through false images of expectations of how we are “supposed” to live and what we are supposed to look like. Social media timelines create tremendous anxiety and pressure our teenagers face today as they attempt to navigate the daily challenges of school, family, friends, relationships, and extra circulars in real time, in a world dominated by social media timelines.

Social media acceptance has taken over the identity and confidence in teenage girls and boys. The number of followers and likes on social media are what so many teenagers use as a gauge for social acceptance and their social identity. They simply just follow them on a social media platform. Young  people believe a new follower notification, or scrolling through their pictures and seeing they have more likes than someone else’s’ picture, or having a Snap Chat streak is what drives their inner happiness. However, is social media identity really what creates happiness?

Here are four realities every teenage athlete should know about social media:
  1. Everything seen on social media has been edited and manipulated to create a “false” image 
  2. 90% of followers/friends are “fake friends” that you have never even had a face-to-face conversation with or had very limited interaction with.
  3. Your dignity, worth, and confidence as a woman is developed in REAL TIME and in REAL LIFE not from likes on a social media timeline
  4. True happiness comes from real life experiences and relationships, not likes from social media. Think about it…when have you had more fun…a Friday night football game with your friends or sitting alone on a Friday night in your bedroom scrolling through your timelines wishing you were with all of your friends you see on the virtual reality? 
Here are three ways volleyball athletes can escape the dark world of social media:
  1. The habits you establish now are the ones you will have in your 20s, 30s, 40s, and on. Start early. EAT right. EXERCISE daily. SLEEP.
  2. Know that you never achieve success alone. Someone always helps you climb the ladder to success. Don’t be scared to ask for help and take advantage of having role models and mentors in your life
  3. Learn to Listen. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen more. Talk less. You’ll be shocked what you learn.

KIVA Youth Director Courtney Robison-Dixon has spent the last ten years diving into the mental and emotional health struggles teenagers face as a result of the toxic world of social media. She has written a book called Living in Real Time to help relate to the very difficult reality our teenage girls live in today. It is her hope that through this book young women can learn the dangers of the false reality society tries to portray upon them. That they can learn to live in REAL time, not behind the stress and anxiety of a social media TIMELINE.

Living in Real Time is a book written to help young girls see that their inner beauty, happiness, and identity comes from what happens in REAL TIME not on a social media TIMELINE. Written in bite size easy read chapters to help keep the attention of teenage girls Robison-Dixon covers some of life’s most valuable lessons that are not taught inside the walls of a classroom or on the volleyball court. This book covers some of the most difficult conversations that are often avoided but so necessary for our teenage girls. Click here to learn more and purchase this book.