Should we consider social media addiction on par with other addiction and abusive behaviour?
Studies say yes – The same dopamine spike that people with addiction experience can also happen to those who compulsively use the Internet. Similarly, a tolerance builds for those who regularly rely on social media “likes” to make them feel good, so it takes more and more time to achieve the feelings of euphoria and satisfaction the person initially experienced. And when the devices are taken away, just like someone who is suddenly deprived of drugs, withdrawal symptoms can occur.
Check out these social media consumption stats among teens –
- 92% of teens go online daily, and 24% say they go online “almost constantly.” Many teens check their social media more than 100 times a day.
- 55% of teens have given out personal info to someone they don’t know, including photos and physical descriptions. 29% have been stalked or contacted by a stranger.
- 59% of parents say they feel their teen is addicted to their mobile device. 50% of teens say they feel addicted to their mobile device.
- 77% of parents say their teens get distracted by their devices and don’t pay attention when they’re together.
Social media is considered a major catalyst for depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other mental health issues among teens and tweens. This constant digital interaction has a major impact or even interrupts many normal life events and developmental milestones of your children.
Is your child equipped to navigate the social media world where increasingly complex algorithms are designed to keep him/her clicking? Are you like many fellow parents seeking answers and intervention strategies for helping your child to become a responsible social media consumer?
Then, here are 3 powerful strategies that will help you achieve these goals –
1. Get info and support
Online communities like web addiction support community on platforms like CareSpace can be a vital resource in your quest for promoting responsible social media consumption. On the community, people come together seeking practical solutions to social media addictions. Apart from the discussions and polls, you can find invaluable info on the video library, news feed, and social media feeds of the platform.
If your child or you are already addicted, the community is an excellent resource for finding therapists, support groups, and doctors near you who can help you. On the community, you can also get advice from the healthcare professionals on the expert panel or discuss day to day strategies with fellow members.
Privacy is a huge concern while dealing with an issue like addiction. So, on the web addiction support community, you have the option to comment or post anonymously. Additionally, you need not share any personal detail like email or phone number on the platform. Finally, you can even create a private community and invite selected members for support and interaction.
- Lead by example
Are you inadvertently promoting addictive behaviour among your children? Scary thought right? As a parent, we are constantly setting up examples to follow for our children. So, it is our responsibility to some extent not to exhibit addictive behaviour to social media in front of our kids.
Many times your children – even the older ones – cannot differentiate between when you are using your mobile phone for work vs leisure. They just see you glued to the phone and start imitating your consumption patterns. So, it is a good idea to demonstrate clear boundaries – Do your work only on your laptop and resist the temptation to send out that quick email blast.
Keep your mobile on the charging station and pick it up only to answer calls at least until your child is asleep. Strictly follow the no phones at dinner rule so that your child learns to prioritise family time over phone time. Do not share every moment of your life on your social media – what you post or not post can set important subconscious boundaries for your teenager.
- Give them worthy alternatives
In spite of the potential for destruction, an unfortunate reality of our times is that social media will continue to be a vital part of your child’s social and creative lives. So, banning or blocking social media will not work in the long term. A better bet would be to provide them with worthy alternatives that make it worth their while to move away from their phones.
Non-tech hobbies and interests are a good place to start. Whether it is music, painting, singing, gardening, reading, yoga, trekking anything that gets them outdoors and encourages them to engage their mind and body is a good idea. Encourage your children to hang out with their friends in person and play real sports than chatting online all the time.
Online also, you should look for niche platforms like CommunityZapp and CareSpace that encourage focused discussion, learning, and conscious consumption. The interaction loops on these platforms often involve a real life component that actually delivers tangible benefits rather than conversation for the sake of conversation.
As the future becomes more and more tech-centred, social media is here to stay. So, a blanket ban or total abstinence is an unrealistic standard that is sure to fail. Instead, as a parent, your goal should be to teach and support your children to become responsible consumers. You should be helping them engage within the social media without compromising on their health and safety.
So, head to the web addictions support community on CareSpace today for info, support, and expert advice that will help you protect your child against social media addiction.