Teenage Social Media Addiction: Reasons And Effects

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Is your teen addicted to social media networking sites? Does he refuse to let go of his android phone and plays games all day? Does it worry you that he may be losing touch with reality? If you can identify to any of the situations above, read on to know more about teens and social media addiction.

Teenage Addiction To Social Media:

Your teen may have been an outgoing and fun-loving child, but of late whenever you see him, he is on his computer, tapping away at the keyboard. If your teen spends more time on various social media sites than he does with real people in real environments, he is probably addicted to social media.

Causes Of Teenage Social Media Addiction:

Why are teenagers addicted to social media? Well, your teen may get addicted to social media for any of the following reasons:

  • He may be feeling overwhelmed, curious, lonely, bored, stressed, depressed or even anxious about something and may decide to go online to kill time. Once in the virtual world of the social media, he will most likely forget his worries and feel better. It will set the precedent for the next time he feels bored, lonely, depressed or stressed.
  • Your teen may feel disconnected from his family and even from his friends. It could be because he feels like a misfit, or that he does not conform to the way that other friends or people around him behave or think. It could cause your teen to feel confused or frustrated, and the only place where he feels he can be himself without feeling out of place is the social media.
  • If your teen is overly shy, he may find it difficult to connect with friends in a real setting. Social media can give him the perfect platform to meet new people and make friends. He may also be able to be more open and confident on social media with friends he already knows but is otherwise shy to speak to.

Effects Of Social Media On Teens:

How do you know that teens addicted to social media or suffers from this social media addiction disorder? Here we list some common effects that will help you spot the problem.

Behavioral Effects:

Here are some behavioral signs of the effects of social media on teenagers:

  • Your teen may lose interest in meeting friends and spending time with them.
  • He may want to be on his own most of the time, even when his friends are around.
  • Your teen might start getting cranky, irritable or even angry when he is not able to get back to his computer in order to check social media.
  • Any new update on his social media can make him react in a very forceful way.
  • Your teen may be in his room more and more and refuse to come out.
  • He may suddenly shut down his computer or close the lid of his laptop if you or someone else comes near.
  • Your teen will turn defensive at the slightest provocation and get upset if someone else uses his computer.
  • If you make fun of his online habits and his online friends or show them down, he can react quite aggressively.
  • Your teen may finish another activity fast in order to get back to his social media contacts.
  • He will lie to you about what he is doing to spend more time on social media.
  • Your teen could avoid social gatherings and may fall short on his commitments and schedules.

Physical Effects:

Here are some physical signs of a social media addiction:

  • Your teen may complain of frequent headaches and even discomfort in the eyes. He may not be able to see properly and may have blurry or strained vision problems.
  • He may not be able to sleep properly and may have problems with falling asleep or staying asleep. He may toss and turn in his sleep or start speaking while he is sleeping.
  • Your teen may experience fluctuating weight. He could either gain or lose weight without any obvious reasons.
  • Your teen could contract disorders like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. (1)

Self-Assessment Questions:

Before you have a serious discussion with your teen about his social media addiction, tell him that his addiction worries you, and you would like him to assess the extent of his problem and take a self-test. Here are a few questions you can ask him to answer honestly:

  • Is he always thinking about getting online and checking his social media?
  • Does he keep thinking about what he was doing on his social media and what other updates he saw?
  • Does he keep wondering about what new things he will be updating on his social media and what someone else might be sharing soon?
  • Does he want to be online most of the time as it makes him feel happy? Does he think that social media is a much better way of meeting people than going out and meeting friends?
  • Has he tried to restrict the amount of time he spends on social media?
  • Does he feel angry, depressed, irritated or anxious if he is not able to check his social media constantly and at regular intervals? Does he always want to be in a position when he can check his social media any time he wants?
  • Does his interest in social media affect his social, emotional and any other relations he has with his family or friends? Does his social media addiction affect his studies?

So, ask your teen to answer the questions we mention above. His answers will give you a fair idea of the scope of the problem and whether you need to seek a professional opinion. Inform him about the various ills of social media addiction and help him get out of it in a smooth way.

If your teen has battled social media addiction too, tell us about his/her story. Leave a comment below. Help calm down fellow moms who face similar situations with their teens.

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