The Brain And Teen Social Media Addiction
What biological and chemical processes are set off by social media use? And how do they affect the brain? Scientists have found that overuse of technology in general, and social media in particular, creates a stimulation pattern similar to the pattern created by other addictive behaviors. One study found that receiving likes on social media activates the same circuits in the teenage brain that are activated by eating chocolate or winning money.
The brain responds to social media the same way it responds to real-life connections, with a release of dopaminea neurotransmitter that creates feelings of pleasure and works in the reward center of the brain, says Kristin. Positive reinforcement comes when a teen posts something online and is met with likes, shares, and positive comments from their circle of peers. The rush of dopamine that occurs with this positive feedback creates a high. For some teens, this can begin the cycle of the need to recreate that feeling with more posts and thus more time on social media.
According to Nicholas Kardaras, author of Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kidsand How to Break the Trance, the constant overstimulation of social networking shifts the nervous system into fight-or-flight mode. This makes disorders such as ADHD, teen depression, oppositional defiant disorder, and teen anxiety worse.
How Parents Can Help Their Children Overcome Addiction To Social Media
Addiction treatment requires more than restricting activity. Social media addiction is no different. The brain reward system disorder and underlying mental health needs must be addressed. The following supportive measures can help your child overcome problematic social media use as you work toward a solution:
- Focus on healthy coping mechanisms that help your teen overcome or adapt to troubles rather than escape.
- Manage your teens screen time by providing reasonable time limits and teaching self-regulation.
- Teach your teen to use social media purposefully rather than mindlessly scrolling.
- Keep notifications turned off.
Be willing to seek outside help. Some teens can overcome social media addiction with outpatient therapy, while others require inpatient treatment.
How Does Social Media Addiction Affect Teens
Social media addiction not only directly affects a teens brain processes and chemicals, but other areas of life. A study found that the more teens used Facebook the more their overall satisfaction with life declined.
Studies suggest that when a teen focuses solely on themselves and showing off their best self they actually reduce self-esteem. Facebook and other social media activity has led to symptoms of both low self-esteem and narcissism.
Teens tend to compare themselves to others online. This is particular dangerous as it not only lowers self-esteem but can also lead to depression, eating disorders, self-harming behaviors and substance abuse.
Social media prohibits a teen to be fully absorbed in an activity. Referred to as flow state, the brain is constantly interrupted from a flow of rest and relaxation with social media posts and updates. This restricts and inhabits the teens ability to fully rest and relax in their activity.
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What Does Teen Social Media Addiction Look Like
- Its known that teens and adults alike check their phones upwards of 150 times a day, and its been well-documented that our excessive access to social media and our obsession with our online appearance has had a significant impact on teens, including severe self-esteem issues and feelings of anxiety.
- Social media not only promotes the decline in mental health for many teens, but it also becomes an easy outlet for online aggression and cyberbullying, further impacting a child emotionally.
- An addiction to online media may lead a child to struggle to engage with others on a normal level, as well as affect their academic performance and chances for a future.
- Addiction-levels of social media use can also negatively impact existing relationships, leading many teens to struggle to maintain a commitment to their partner or friends due to constant distractions and lack of attention.
Learn To Recognize The Signs That You Have Failed To Prevent Social Media Addiction In Teens
It is entirely possible to fail despite your best efforts to prevent social media addiction in teens. After all, your kids are not always in your sight, and you cant control what they do all the time. So you should also learn to recognize the signs of social media addiction the sooner you spot them, the better chances youll have of helping your teen. Keep an eye out for: an excessive amount of time spent online, distress at not having a phone or computer nearby, difficulty focusing, exhaustion and insomnia, increased anxiety, or signs of depression. If you spot these symptoms, consider seeking treatment for your teenager. Social media addiction can be successfully treated with therapy. So dont panic you can still help your kids.
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Is Social Media Good For Teenagers
While there are many downfalls of social media, there are benefits for teenagers as well. Social media platforms allow teens to:
- create online identities and be part of a community
- build social networks and communicate with others, which can provide them with support
- find entertainment, distraction, humour, education and information about social movements and human rights issues.
There are many positives associated with social media, and its important for teens to develop social media savviness to prepare them for adulthood where, undeniably, social media remains a major part of daily life. You can work with your teen to help them find the right balance between social media and their mental health. And if youre worried your teens social media use is interfering with their schoolwork, consider these helpful study apps.
Does My Child Need Inpatient Or Outpatient Therapy For Social Media Addiction
Therapy for social media addiction is available on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. The type of therapy that will be most effective for your child will depend on several factors, including the following:
- Your childs desire to decrease social media use
- The severity of your childs addiction
- Whether your child has developed secondary addictions
Outpatient therapy requires trust and cooperation from your teen. It is more likely to be effective for teens who can acknowledge their social media dependency is unhealthy and have expressed a desire to decrease or eliminate social media use.
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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 dont seem to understand anything else but only what they see on social media. This needs to be changed.
Helping Teens With Social Media Addiction At Paradigm
Here at Paradigm Treatment, the first and most primary function of teen social media addiction treatment is to reduce the amount of time that teens spend on social media. By restricting the amount of time teens spend interacting online, we help them prioritize real social interaction with their peers. Not only is this healthier, but this way, theyre more likely to develop a better sense of self. On top of this, we believe that it is important for teens who struggle with social media addiction to spend more time out in the fresh air. Our locations are all built near beautiful nature spots, from beaches to parks and hiking routes.
Getting Used to An Offline World At Paradigm, therapists simultaneously begin working with teens to evaluate and address the underlying reasons, triggers, and beliefs connected to their overuse of social media. As teens begin to make the connection between their overuse of social media and things like strained relationships, trouble at school, and a constant feeling of being distracted and anxious, our therapists can help teens cope with the potential causes of their addiction.
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Get Help Filing A Social Media Addiction Lawsuit
Companies should not be allowed to target vulnerable populations like children and teenagers with products that may not be safe and this should also apply to social media platforms.
As a national personal injury law firm, Sokolove Law is proud to take a stand and fight back against companies like this on behalf of our clients.
If you or your child have suffered mental health side effects related to social media addiction, you may be able:
- Hold social media companies accountable for their unfair practices and harm
- Potentially prevent other adolescents from becoming addicted to social media
- Pursue compensation that can help cover the costs of treatment
- Seek justice for your family over these predatory practices
See if you have a case for free simply call or fill out our contact form to get started.
Effects Of Social Media Addiction
Social media addiction is a brain disorder that compels teens or young adults to overindulge in social media to such a degree that they are unable to reduce their consumption despite negative consequences.
Although many adolescents use social media in healthy ways, some develop serious addictions. While the term addiction is often used in casual conversation, social media addiction is a serious condition with serious consequences.
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More Teens Addicted To Social Media Prefer Texting To Talking
Most American teenagers are constantly using social media, and half admit that it distracts them from looking up and talking to people right in front of them, a new survey shows.
More teens now say they prefer texting to talking to other people in person, and they admit smartphone apps are waking them up at night and distracting them from homework, the survey by Common Sense Media shows.
Signs Of Social Media Addiction
Parents can look for a few signs if they think their teen might have an addiction to social media. A significant warning sign is that your teen always feels the need to constantly be online. Secondly, if he experiences anxiety or withdrawal symptoms when not on social media. Another sign of social media addiction is if your teen uses social media to escape reality or numb their emotions.
An addicted teen often foregoes real-life social interactions to spend more time on social media. If your son is skipping out on hanging out with friends or family to stay home and be on his phone, this is a cause for concern. He might also isolate himself from the people and activities he used to enjoy to be instead online. Your teens mental health can be impacted by social media addiction. If he experiences anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem, these could be signs that he is addicted. These symptoms are often a result of comparing himself to others on social media and feeling like he doesnt measure up.
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Why Teens Are Addicted To Social Media
As many parents probably already know, their teenage kids can be absolutely addicted to social media. And with the various websites and array of social media platforms, sometimes teens can spend all day glued to their screens. While Im not exactly defending teens reasons to be stuck on social media all day, enlightening others is a good goal to have when trying to raise awareness about the potential negative impacts that social media can have.
One of the first reasons that comes to mind when talking about why our generation is addicted to social media is probably because of the Fear Of Missing Out, or FOMO. While some dont care if theyre the first ones to see a new post by someone popular in their school, or even a celebrity, teens often give a lot of attention to their phones so they can see and understand whats going on in the world in terms of pop culture.
Basically, its the fear that many teenagers have that if they dont go on social media, they will miss out on a huge event, or something that they deem as important. Often in school, a students peers may be discussing a post or video that they all saw and shared the previous day, and if that student wasnt on social media at the time, they feel left out of the conversation, and not as engaged in it as well.
Getting a low number of likes and followers, in teenagers minds, equates to low status and ridicule, especially in a school environment, while having a high number of each equates to popularity.
Peer Pressure Has Never Been Like This In The History Of Humanity
Since 2007 the world has grown used to increasingly faster internet load times and the increasing ownership of smartphones. According to multiple reports, the link between social media and depression in teens is devastating. There was a time when no one had cell phones and when social media platforms were basic and didnt involve pictures. Peer pressure came from all the usual suspects: school, celebrities, advertisements and the media, and cultural norms that took years to form and become status quo. Teenagers need to know that peer pressure doesnt have to keep them up at night or start their mornings and that private time away from the public means time to reflect, meditate, and not be busy checking into any apps, let alone ones that make us constantly click and post.
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There Are Many Different Ways To Prevent Social Media Addiction In Teens
It is certainly possible for teenagers to use social media without getting addicted. They just need to learn how to balance their online life and the real world. As their parents, guardians, and teachers, it is our job to show them the way. Depending on your style of parenting, you may approach this in different ways. Here are some of the approaches Ive personally noticed.
Social Media Can Lead To Addiction
Because social media is so addictive, it can lead to addiction. Teens can become so obsessed with social media that it starts to take over their lives. This can lead to them neglecting their schoolwork, hobbies, and even their social lives.
If you’re a parent of a teenager, it’s important to have a talk with them about the negative effects of social media. Help them to understand how social media can impact their lives in a negative way. Encourage them to use social media in moderation, and to make sure they’re using it in a way that is positive and healthy.
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What If My Teen Is Already Addicted
Sometimes it is not as simple as putting in a prevention plan to help combat a social media addiction in teens. Often by the time you realize there is an issue, the issue has gotten out of hand and you are facing a full-blown addiction.
In an article on social media addiction reviewing recent Nielsen Research Survey, they found that 70 percent of the U.S. population thats glued to their televisions, some of whom are also on social media at the same time. Combined, Americans are spending over 15 years of the average lifespan watching TV or engaging social media. Its mind-blowing.
According to a published study on social media users, they found that using Facebook was associated with lower life satisfaction, whereas having real-life friends and interacting with them was associated with higher life satisfaction.
While this may seem obvious, the underlying message is that people are still engaging in excessive social media use despite the negative side effects.
Symptoms to look out for when your teen has a social media addiction include:
Recommended By Our Editors
The news isn’t all doom and gloom. More teens said social media had a positive than a negative effect on how they feel, including decreased loneliness and depression and increased confidence and self-worth. But for teens who identified as having “low social-emotional well-being,” 70 percent of that group said they sometimes feel left out or excluded when using social media 43 percent said they feel bad about themselves if no one likes or comments on posts and have deleted posts because they got too few likes.
Check out Common Sense’s full infographic below or head here to download the full report.
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