Social Media Addiction in Teens – How Far Can It Go?
Scrolling down social media and checking phones frequently have become the most common activities among the youth. Although most of the users of social media are using it in a non-problematic way, some are addicted to it. Teens are the most vulnerable to compulsive use of social media. They can’t just get their heads off social media networking. There is this urge that forces them to log in and give a proper amount of time to scrolling, commenting, sharing, and watching.
Social media addiction is just like any other addiction like substance abuse which includes mood changes, behavioral and cognitive changes, withdrawal symptoms, conflicts, and relapses. It is researched that the use of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat produces the same neural activity that is caused by gambling and using recreational drugs.
Studies have also shown that actions like retweets, likes, share, comment affect the brain reward area the same way as any other drug such as cocaine. Neuroscientists have even compared social media networking to a syringe of dopamine that is injected right into the system.
How Does Social Media Addiction Affect the Brain?
Social media addiction affects both the physical and psychological aspects of a person. In the brain, it induces the brain reward center where the dopamine is produced with each interaction. Social media provides endless rewarding actions in the form of attention from other people. When someone likes your comments, shares with you, appreciate you, or even respond to your post, the brain perceives it as positive reinforcement.
Social media usage also becomes problematic when kids see it as a way to cope with their depression, loneliness, and stress. For such people, social media becomes the source of reward that they never receive in real life. So, they end up relying on social media as the way of their interaction with others and ignoring real-life issues.
Social Media Addiction and Mental Heath
The latest researches have revealed that there is a straight connection between social media usage and poor mental health. While social media has its benefits, but using it more frequently than usual can leave people depressed and isolated. And, the case is worst when teens are the victims. The negative emotions raised due to social media addiction are not only because of the excessive use but also due to the comparison of things and lifestyle.
On Facebook or Instagram, users are shown glittery posts and advertisements that are specially made to attract users. As the user scrolls down or clicks the post, he sees a person with a great job, home, lifestyle, everything that one hopes for in a good perfect life. Though it is all made just to inspire the user the users often get despaired and disturbed as they start the comparison of their own lives with theirs.
Especially kids get addicted to the glittery world of perfect things on social media, little do they know that it is all made to allure them. As they keep on using social media and see the glittery lives of others, they can fall into depression and think of their life as useless.
How to Recognize Social Media Addiction?
Although a large amount of people is using social media every moment, there are a few that are addicted to it. If you are worried about your kids being addicted to social media, you can look for the signs of social media addiction in them. Here are a few things to look for in a person who might or might not be addicted to social media usage:
- Do they spend a lot of time thinking about the use of social media? Planning about what to write next, and how to respond?
- Do they feel the urge to use social media more and more every day?
- Do they use social media as a way of forgetting about their problems?
- Do they try to reduce their use of social media? Have they succeeded?
- Do they get all angry and restless when they are unable to get access to social media?
- Is the use of social media affecting their academics?
If you find ‘yes’ the answer to most of these questions, you ought to be worried about them. It might be time to intervene and help them with their addiction. Because, if it gets worse, social media addiction can have terrible consequences. Most of the times kids don’t seem to understand anything else but only what they see on social media. This needs to be changed.
Tips for Parents
If you are a parent and you are watching your kid falling into this abyss of social media addiction, there are a few things you can do. Such as:
- Guide them about the correct use of social media. Make their accounts with them and show them how to use them correctly. Also, give them a detailed introduction about what they are going to experience there and how true it is. When they listen to these things from you, they will know what does that glittery world mean.
- Use the parental control app to make sure you have an eye on them. SecureTeen is one of the best parental control app that you can use to monitor their social media activities and to make sure they are not in any sort of trouble. It lets you see who they are chatting to, what they are posting, and how are they doing there. Just knowing about their activities can tell you a lot about their safety.
- Keep an open communication policy to make sure they come to you when they are depressed or when they feel that social media is ruining them. They must come to you for help before anyone else.
Social media addiction is as dangerous for adults as it is for kids. But, for kids, it is new and adventurous, so they need more guidance and knowledge. Parents are responsible for providing them that guidance.