Approval sought from strangers

JOHN Waring has a lot of experience when dealing with teen behaviour.

The child psychologist, of John Waring and Associates, believes the need for approval is so high these days that people are seeking out strangers for their opinion.

"It's a human need for reassurance, which is highest in teen years," he said.

"Up to the age of 12 it's a parent's reassurance that is needed, but after that they don't want their parent's approval, they want their peers'.

"That used to be just friends at school but now, with the internet, it's blown out to almost anyone."

The worrying trend of teenagers openly posting photographs of themselves to gain "likes", or votes, on Facebook event pages doesn't sit well with him.

"Some of the children I've seen have stayed up most of the night just to check they're getting enough likes on their Facebook page," he said. "What does that say about our self-worth?"

An equal cause for concern is the negative feedback people have left on some photos.

"I think all of the major problems in the world come down to the line, 'why aren't you more like me?'," he said.

"The further someone is from yourself, the more that conflict emerges. It's ignorance and fear of the unknown."

Mr Waring was also critical of "keyboard warriors", who hide behind the internet's anonymity and make insulting comments they wouldn't use face to face.

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