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By LifeLine

Social Media Addiction

What if there were a danger that threatened the very core of your child’s being-their individuality, their self-esteem, or even their ability to be emotionally stable? What if this danger broke down the fabric of their mental well being, and their every relationship?

When we think of dangerous behavioral addictions often the things that come to mind are blatantly risky behaviors like bungee jumping, sky diving, or self-harm. Other “lesser” risky behaviors can present themselves as gambling, shopping or casual sexual relationships. 70% of today’s youth carry around a potentially lethal catalyst that can change the chemical, emotional and psychological responses of a healthy child from normal into a morbidly dangerous equation in almost no time at all.

Social Media Addictions usually center around Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, and are new on the scene of internet addiction.

Less than 20 years in the making, they are found to create more dependence than even cigarettes or alcohol. Studies have found that the act of self-disclosure on social media stimulates the same pleasure centers in the brain, similar to those of sex and food responses. In short it triggers areas responsible for survival instincts. With all the click bait algorithms designed to suck them into a vortex of engagement, the draw of instant gratification can produce a significant high. So, what may have begun as a noble venture into helping your child attain a digital social life and status among their peers can turn into a consumptive nightmare.

Upon further investigation, researchers have found that all ages are using social platforms to manage stress relief resulting from anxiety and depression giving the user an anticipated “out” in avoiding real-life situations and connections. Youth and teen years bring their own set of social adjustments and more and more children are finding relief from these social anxieties among their multiple media accounts. With more than 70% of youth having smartphones or access to a smartphone, compulsive social media is creating an underestimated behavior epidemic devouring today’s younger generation.

 

Those who struggle with addictions to social media have trouble interacting with the people in the immediate vicinity often don’t understand that hiding behind a digital persona to maintain a sense of safety can often cause them to be even more socially insecure. Utah’s Lifeline For Youth has a proven track record with our qualified counselors. By understanding the nuances of social media addiction, the qualities related to them we create individualized plans to help your child cope.

Recognizing Social Media Addiction in Your Child

Recognizing obsessive and even compulsive behavior in our children’s use of computers, phones or tablets can be hard. To be frank, a lot of the reason we don’t is that, sadly, we are modeling these very actions and habits ourselves. As guardians, we need to stay alert and engaged. By placing unrestricted access to content and social interactions in our children’s hands without guidance or instruction, we tempt disaster.

These signs are strong symptoms of social media addiction:

Checking the websites at every chance

Some of the first signs you may notice is that your child may hurry to finish meals or is frequently preoccupied during meals or family occasions with constant social media involvement. I

Withdrawl

If you’ve tried limiting your child’s screen time and noticed hypersensitivity, fidgety behavior, problems paying attention or overly aggressive or emotional outbursts, your child may have a moderate to severe problem.

Making ‘friend’ , ‘follower’ , or ‘like’ counts competitive

Like every human, social acceptance is a basic necessity, we are “pack-oriented”. But when they grade themselves and their self-worth on virtual popularity and then fail to see it meet their expectations, the blow to their mental welfare can be crippling.

Revealing too many personal details

Oversharing of private information such as photos or current ‘status symbols’ by children on social media platforms displays the need for social approval and a way to receive acknowledgment by the “friends”.

Educational performance decline

One of the most significant signs of internet addiction in children is not being able to concentrate on their schooling due to constant distractions provided by social networking websites. If you find your child deviating from the normal patterns of study and grade levels in significant ways, get an opinion from one of our outstanding advisers at Lifeline For Youth.

Interference with real-life relationships

Because digital interaction is convenient and provides a way to “engage” without much effort it becomes the preferred method for many. Allowing concealment or revealing of emotional details may feel like a mental safety net that they aren’t permitted in other, more exposed exchanges.

Irritability and tiredness

Many children spend a considerable amount of time more than their caregivers realize. Hours upon hours in front of the computer screen, or handheld device, especially late into the night, without a doubt disrupts the emotional and physical well-being of the child. Considering the increased requirements of sleep for proper function and growth of the brain during the adolescent years, fatigue may be a sign that the child isn’t or can’t self-regulate their time.

Depression or Social Anxiety

Ultimately the biggest problem on social sites is dealing with perceived perfectionism from other users. The majority of teens face criticism for their less than perfect looks, clothes, cliques or activities and cyberbullying takes a toll on their self-esteem. Chronic depression, anxiety often go hand in hand with oversaturation in the social media scene. This can often end up in suicidal thoughts or attempts. A growing number of clinical cases where, not only, has an adolescent considered suicide as a result of negative feedback to social media endeavors, but in some cases even attempted and completed suicide.

Personalized intercession can be the tool that changes all that. Lifeline For Youth can assess the situation and provide a practical and achievable roadmap for success.

Don’t let your child become a digital statistic. At Lifeline For Youth, we can help your child learn skills about overcoming social media addiction. Call today for a consultation.

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