With all the negative publicity social media receives in regards to the lives of teens, there exists a shining reminder of the role it can play in producing positive effects. The NY Times recently released an article highlighting the positive impact that blogging can have on the mental health of teenagers based upon recent research. Amid the furor caused by topics like cyberbullying, the idea that blogging can serve as a form of therapy for teens evokes a sigh of relief and casts light on the ways in which social media can serve to connect individuals and decrease feelings of isolation.
While nothing may ever truly replace the traditional diary, being able to express oneself through the written word has always been hailed as both an art form and as a cathartic endeavor. These findings remind us of the value of documenting emotions and experiences. The responses that teens may receive to their blog serve to validate their feelings and can empower them to increase their social support system.
This seems like yet another new and innovative way for counselors to engage their teenage clients by meeting them where they are and working with new forms of communication in a therapeutic context. Blogging with feedback may serve the same purpose as a group with respondents offering feedback, validation, corrective experiences, and providing reality checks which can then be discussed in the therapeutic dyad. Teens seem much more likely to talk about their blog posts than they ever were to allow entry to the private pages of their diary.
For those of us that still consider a blog to be frightening concept, it may be time to take another look at the ways in which we can use it to enhance our own therapeutic interventions with teenage clients. You may even be tempted to try your hand at your own blog. It might just be good for you.
Read the article in full: Blogging as Therapy for Teenagers – Studied – NYTimes.com