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High School 2.0

girls and social media

I am not sure about the rest of you, but I attended high school back in the eighties. It was a time when social media took the form of a “paper note“, bullying was done to your face and “talking to a friend” meant, literally talking on the phone to a friend.

High school could be a difficult and complicated place to be. There was “gossip”, that spread from person to person and face to face. There were cliques that allowed you to sit with friends and hang out with them, or not. And the good or bad things people said about you were hurtful or complimentary but usually were spread until something better came along…and then they faded away.

In my work with adolescents, I always feel empathy for clients when they talk about gossip, dating and the social pressures they endure. I have also grown to appreciate the challenges that come with social media and how different it is for the teens today. There is one thing I had never considered that a teen brought to my attention just yesterday.

I was speaking with a fourteen year old female teenager who is a freshman in high school. I asked her what was the toughest part of high school was for her and she responded to me it was the “transition”. The transition? From junior high to high school?

No, she stated, the transition from high school during the day to “high school 2.0”. High school 2.0…my 80’s brain could not comprehend what it was she was referring to. What she meant was all day there is the drama, the gossip, the class work and fielding off the other distracting issues. THEN, when she gets home there is more through social media!

There is an intense pressure to keep up with the ins and outs of social media and all that is going on with peers once school lets out. Is there anything a  parent and teen can do to deal with the pressure of High School 2.0?

social media and distress

  • As a parent, remember the pressure your teen is under. An attitude of understanding will help to bridge the gap between parent and teenager. It’s hard to be a teen and even harder to be a parent of a teen, but there are ways to make it easier for everyone.
  • One of the best pieces of parenting advice I’ve ever heard is to give kids freedom within boundaries. This means giving teens some freedom on social media but even if they say they don’t like it, give them limits so they can learn to get distance.
  • Teens don’t know how to “turn it off”, we adults have enough trouble with it. Teens need their parents {because they will never admit it} to flip the switch for them. Even responsible teens need these lines to be drawn for them, not just for their sanity, but for their safety as well. This can take the form of “taking a day off” from social media. Most teens cannot even imagine it, but they may get a sense of relief in the long run.

Most of you parents out there are probably already very involved in your teens’ online use, but you will continue to get push back from your teens on your involvement and your insistence on limitation. I hope that this feedback can be reassurance that your teen is indeed feeling a lot of pressure and even may overwhelmed. Your choice to be involved and set limits is very helpful and important for your teen. Despite what they say, they are learning to set boundaries, step away from pressure to get relief and self-soothe and self-protect.

If you are curious about how you can get even more involved in your teen’s social media, here is a useful tool for you.

MinorMonitor is a free web-based tool that gives parents an easy view into their teen’s Facebook activities. Parents can access either a snapshot, or full detail and specifics, of potential dangerous activities such as bullying, hate crimes, drug use and sexual references.

Stay Involved!


High School 2.0

Jessica O. Hunter, Psy.D.

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APA Reference
Hunter, J. (2016). High School 2.0. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 23, 2019, from


Last updated: 15 Feb 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Feb 2016
Published on All rights reserved.