A Problem for the New Generations – Social Media Addiction and What to Look For

Addiction is not a new phenomenon. It is defined as “having a compulsive physiological need for a habit or substance”. For decades, people have tried to understand and cope with addiction. The effect that addiction has on our lives can be heartbreaking.

As we learn more about the way our brains work, our definition of what makes an addiction expands. We all know about the most common ones, like alcoholism and drug abuse. We now understand that addiction doesn’t have to be chemical to be dangerous. People can be addicted to gambling, shopping, or even pain. 

The rise of the internet has given way to a new addiction – social media. There are still many studies being done about this type of issue. The signs of social media addiction are still debated. However, experts across the board agree that it is a serious problem. Younger kids and teens are especially at risk. Like any addiction, it can have negative effects on mental and emotional health.

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if your child has a social media addiction without a professional diagnosis. But there are a few things to watch out for.

  1. Spend a Lot of Time Thinking About or Planning Their Social Media

Social media is one of the most popular methods of communication today. It makes cross-continental communication simple and puts the world of information at your fingertips.

 Facebook and Twitter (among others) are bound to pop up in conversation sometimes. However, if your child frequently refers to social media, or plans out multiple posts (i.e. “I should tweet that”) then that could be a bad sign.

  1. Try to Use Social Media to Forget Problems

Everyone uses the internet to destress and escape sometimes. It can be as useful as a good book or tv show. However, it all comes down to the frequency of use. If you notice your child is constantly turning to social media when faced with a personal issue, then that could be a negative indicator. Social media is an escape from, but not a permanent solution to real-life problems.

  1. Restless or Grumpy When Unable to Use Social Media

Many parents implement a “no phones” rule during family times like dinner or events. If your child acts out during these times, it’s just like with any other addiction. The physical withdrawal symptoms of social media addiction might not be obvious, but the mental withdrawal symptoms could be immediate. If they can’t get their “fix”, then they’ll become upset or aggravated.

  1. Social Media Has Negative Impact on Studies/Job/Relationships

If your child uses social media so often that they are unable to function without it, that is a major red flag. 

Many people that use social media know-how to balance their online relationships with their real-life ones. A child suffering from a social media addiction will focus only on their social media connections. Their “IRL” (“in real life”) relationships will fall apart. They could also experience a dip in grades if they spend too much time on social media.

Conclusion

Social media is not a bad thing when used in moderation. It has some wonderful components. We can connect with people on the other side of the world. We can track down information instantly. However, too much of something is not good. You can easily become dependent on the approval and interaction that social media provides. It doesn’t do well to ban your kids from social media entirely but be sure to watch for any negative effects. 

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