Texting, Snapping, DM-ing, Vlogging, Gaming, Streaming… if you have a child, chances are you’re already very familiar with all the fore-mentioned iterations.
In many ways, kids today grow up on social media. They’re used to using and being on social media since a very young age.
Especially for someone in their early teen in this highly digital world, it might feel as though their world revolves around social media.
From what they have for breakfast to what movie they’re watching before they fall asleep, everything is updated on social media. Also, at times not on only one social media platform. There are a plethora of social media platforms today. You have enough options, that it might take you a few minutes to decide what goes on what platform. Which picture goes on Instagram, which one on Snapchat, and what about Facebook? This is the life of most teens today.
Experts say there isn’t anything inherently wrong with being on social media. It mostly has to do with how you use it, how much time you spend on it and how it’s affecting your offline life. It’s all good if your kid’s social media usage is healthy and moderate.
However, with each passing day, it is becoming more and more difficult for parents to monitor their kid’s presence online. There’s no denying that it’s a scary world online. If you’re not careful the internet can be a very scary place. It is filled with predators, adult content which you can protect your kids from with the help of the various blocker available.
But, on top of all this, social media can get extremely addictive.
When you look around how many kids do you see on their phone constantly? Typing and scrolling away on their phones, unaware of the world around them.
The Problem Of Social Media Addiction
According to a report by the Pew Research Centre, in the years 2019 and 2020 94% of teens in the US aged 12-17 reported using social media for more than two hours daily. More than half reported using it several times a day constantly. These are all signs of social media addiction.
Social media addiction is a form of behavioral addiction. Here one feels compelled to go on social media platforms excessively throughout the day.
An addiction like this affects all aspects of life from school and work to even relationships and friendships.
A teen addicted to social media mirrors the symptoms of a caffeine or alcohol addict. The addiction and the withdrawal process are almost identical. A University of Maryland study followed 200 college students who abstained from social media for one day.
The participants were then asked how they felt at the end of the study, and they reported feeling “anxiety,” “craving,” “withdrawal,” “impaired functioning,” and “seclusion.” It is likely that children and teens, whose brains are still undeveloped, suffer similar feelings when trying to abstain from serious social-media habits.
5 Indicators That Show Your Child Is Addicted To Social Media
If your kid has a smartphone or tab and is allowed to have social media accounts, then chances are that they are either mildly or extremely addicted to social media.
Here are 5 signs to look out for if you’re worried about your kid’s social media usage and believe that they might have a social media addiction.
Sign #1: Your child responds to everything immediately
By this, I don’t mean they respond to everything immediately in real life. Instead, here I’m referring to responding to everything on social media immediately. Be it a text message or a snap, they’re quick to respond in barely a few minutes.
And if someone takes too long to respond it irks them and can get them agitated. However, it is the opposite case in real life.
They might take too long to reply to you in person because they’re so caught up on their phone. They often pay less heed to diner table conversations and are in a hurry to get done with dinner, so they can get back to using their phone. This is a sign that they give their online life more important than their offline life.
Sign #2: They display symptoms of phantom phone syndrome
Experts have revealed that this is one of the most common symptoms of social media addiction.
Not only for teens but for people of all ages and genders. The phantom phone syndrome is one where you hear and see imaginary noises and notifications on your phone.
Have you ever noticed your kid check their phone, thinking they got a new message, only to then later scrunch their face up in confusion because there was actually no notification on their phone? But, they swear that they could hear the ringtone or feel their phone vibrate.
This is a sign of social media addiction. It might sound ridiculous to you, but it is way more common than you think.
A study at Indiana University found that approximately 90% of the students had experienced this symptom more than once in their lifetime.
Sign #3: They check-in and post everything on social media
They’re taking pictures of their food to post on Instagram and Snapchat, and thinking of what to caption it, while their food is in the background getting cold.
The check-in and update their social media even before they get a chance to enjoy their vacation stay. They’re more worried about having the perfect outfit for a social media pic, rather than being comfortable in what they wear in real life.
If this is the case with your child, then it might be time for them to step away and take a small break from social media.
Sign #4: Poor performance at school
Many studies have linked a direct correlation between increasingly poor performance at school and high usage of social media.
If you notice your child having a hard time at school, unable to concentrate, and rapidly losing interest in academics, then it might be a good idea to have a look into their social media usage.
Research shows that excessive social media usages can have a negative impact on attention span and memory power. Internet/social media addiction can potentially be to blame for the lowering of grades.
Sign #5: They display extreme cases of FOMO
FOMO stands for the Fear Of Missing Out. In many ways, it is a pandemic that is plaguing the minds of many in this generation.
When you question your kid about why they’re constantly on their phone or on social media, is their excuse that they don’t want to miss out on anything?
This is essentially what “FOMO” is. This is extremely common, especially amongst the younger generation. When they’re unable to get to their phones.
When they’re getting updates about all the exciting things that everyone in their social network is doing and feeling depressed about it, it’s time for a technology timeout.
If you’re noticing signs of social media addiction in your child, then do not panic or worry. Taking the panicked decision of banning them from the internet forever is not going to help you or them in any way.
Instead, you can check out our blog for detailed articles on how to deal with a situation like this. The key is to have open communication with your child.
So they know where they are going wrong, so they don’t repeat their mistakes.