It’s hard for anyone to get through the day without relying on the internet. We use it for research, paying bills, and work. Teens often turn to social media to interact with their friends during the pandemic. It’s also become the primary entertainment option for young people. However, some find themselves unable to pull themselves away from their screens for even small moments, which can be a sign of social media addiction. Destinations for Teens helps young people learn how to manage their impulses and find healthier ways of interacting with others outside of the online world.
What Is a Social Media Addiction?
The internet is now a place where you can interact with people from across the world or find items you can’t locate in local stores. People keep up with family and friends from long ago using social media. When it gets to a point where your teen seems compulsive about their internet use, it can be a sign they are developing a social media addiction. Keep in mind that being on social media does not equal addiction. However, you should have your teen evaluated by a specialist if they start showing signs of social media addiction like:
- Your teen feels guilty about not posting or reacting to posts
- Showing signs of anxiety
- Caring more about their online image than the people around them
- Showing an inability to disconnect from social media
- Start lying to you or sneaking around to hide the extent of their social media usage
- Experiencing feelings of depression if they aren’t on social media
- Cut themselves off from others to spend more time on social media
- Neglecting schoolwork or household chores because of time spent on social media
- Seem agitated when they can’t get online
- Anger when confronted about how much they use social media
Your teen may also experience physical signs of social media addiction, including:
- Constant headaches
- Back pain
- Weight fluctuation
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Sleep issues
Are There Different Types of Internet Addiction
Social media addiction is one of many examples of internet addiction. Teens with internet addiction may suffer from social and academic deficiencies due to internet addiction. There is not a formal diagnosis used for internet addiction. However, professionals often break it down into the following groups:
- Social Media — Many teens become obsessed with observing other people’s lives via social media and with appearing to have a perfect life. This can cause relationships, academics, and general well-being to fall by the wayside.
- Cybersex — Teens may become obsessed with accessing chatrooms, photography, and other explicit adult content.
- Net Compulsion — Teens consume online pursuits like online gambling, shopping, or stock trading.
- Cyber Relationships — Your teen may connect with someone online to the point where they start abandoning other real-life relationships.
- Information-seeking — The amount of information available on the internet can drive some teens to compulsively seek out data.
- Gaming — Many teens play online games without issue. However, some may get addicted to the point where they want to do nothing else than immerse themselves in the gaming world.
How Do You Treat Social Media Addiction?
Social media addiction can have harmful effects on your teen’s physical and emotional state. They may start having issues like body pain, depression, and anxiety. While there is no specific treatment outlined for social media addiction, many teens do respond to therapy. The kind of treatment plan best suited for your child depends on their personality, prior commitments, and ability to travel. Our staff at Destinations for Teens understands that teens may feel the need to escape into the cyber world to avoid real-life problems. We address the underlying issues driving your child’s social media addiction and show them better ways to cope with different situations. The goal is to improve a teen’s mental state to the point where they learn to place appropriate boundaries around their use of social media. Our facility provides a safe and therapeutic environment designed to help teens with issues like:
References: Aboujaoude E, Koran LM, Gamel N, et al. Potential markers for problematic internet use: a telephone survey of 2,513 adults. CNS Spectrums 2006; 11 (10): 750-5