What are you doing right now? Do you have a Facebook tab open? What is your teen doing right now? Are they on Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest?
Social media is consuming the lives of everyone. Young and old, alike, are succumbing to an addiction to social media, which is a subset of internet addiction. For teens, this problem is far worse than it is for fully grown adults.

Defining social media addiction

social media addiction
Photo Source: Flickr User – Photography by Servando

Officially, there is no medical recognition of social networking addiction as a disease or disorder. An addiction is a compulsive behavior that leads to other bad things. When someone gets addicted to something, they feel like they need to do specific activities so often that it becomes harmful to their everyday functioning. Someone addicted to social media has a compulsion to use social media to a degree which is harmful to them. Checking Facebook status updates and tweets for hours and hours on end. But where is the line drawn between a normal activity and something damaging?
A study, by the University of Chicago, recorded responses of hundreds of people over a few weeks, demonstrating that social media addiction can be stronger than addiction to alcohol and nicotine.

Breaking free of the addiction

Here are some tips to kick your teen’s social media addiction:

  • Set boundaries for social media use. Set specific times when your teen must stay off of social media. It could be something like bedtime, mealtimes and whenever your teen is in transit.
  • Buy them an alarm clock. Many teens keep their phones by their beds to use an alarm. By buying them an alarm clock, it eliminates this need.
  • Make sure there’s a reason they’re checking social media. Get them to ask themselves “why am I doing this?” If the answer is that there isn’t a reason, they should stay off of it.
  • Get them to interact with friends off-line. If one of their friends is having a birthday coming up soon, encourage them to call their friend rather than writing “Happy Birthday!! <3” on their Facebook wall.
  • Changing the settings on social media, where it does not send alerts and other notifications via email or text. This can be a great way to stop the distraction of social media and help keep your teen off of it 24/7.

If your teen is experiencing a social media addiction, blueFire Wilderness therapy is a great way to help. Through outdoor therapy, we can help grow your child’s hard and soft skills through experiential learning, away from the distractions of technology & social media. For more information, please call us today, at 844-413-1999.

Previous reading
Teen Self-Harm Rate Rising
Next reading
Helping Autism Spectrum Disorders at blueFire