twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Is Your Teen Addicted to Social Media?

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Dr. Wendy Walsh: Before I could write this blog, I had to nag my 12-year-old for twenty minutes in order to wrangle my computer out of her hands. She was so focused on the various windows she had open -- Facebook and Twitter, accompanied by the background throbbing of an iTunes track.

teen girl texting

Clearly, many, many kids spend way too much time in front of their computers and texting on cell phones -- and much of that time is spent social networking. But it that all bad? The answer to that question is a big fat, "Depends."

When adolescents and teens began trolling the World Wide Web for friends (old and new), parents' biggest concern was online predators who might be posing as kids. That concern is still valid, but today, more moms are worried about the psychological, physiological and social implications of all these digital relationships. And there is much to worry about.

As fast as social networks are growing, so, too, is the research. A quick search through some of my favorite scientific sites yielded this handy set of recent data:

  • Superficial online relationships can result in feelings of detachment and even contribute to certain health-related problems. Two studies out of the University of Arizona show that hoarding friends on Facebook and Twitter won't stave off loneliness if those relationships lack a strong connection.
  • According to the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, adolescents with psychiatric disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), social phobia, hostility and depression may be more likely to develop an Internet addiction. (But which came first, the chicken or the egg?)
  • A brand-new, large-scale study out of Great Britain has found that people who spend a lot of time browsing the Internet are more likely to show depressive symptoms.
  • My favorite self-report study shows that college students who are forced to abstain from social networking (including texting) experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. University of Maryland researchers found that most college students are not just unwilling, but functionallyunable to be without their electronic links to the world. The students described their withdrawal symptoms not unlike how a drug addict would, using terms such as "frantically craving," "very anxious," "extremely antsy," "miserable," "jittery" and "crazy."

So what's a mom to do? Well, before you throw all computers and cell phones in the trash, here's some rather positive news: According to a new study conducted by University of Virginia psychologists, well-adapted youth with positive friendships tend to use social-networking sites to further enhance the positive relationships they already have.

If you worry that your adolescent or teen might be addicted to social media, now is the time to do some family weaning so they can learn to self-control and use tech stuff more responsibly. In my house, I have four hard-and-fast social-media rules:

1) No social media until all homework and long-term projects have been completed. (Trust me: This is a huge incentive for kids to get their academic work done.)

2) No social media during family dinnertime. Period. I don't care if the most pressing show is airing on TV or if Justin Bieber is debuting his new video on YouTube; if it happens on a screen at 6 PM, it doesn't happen in my house.

3) All media "powers down" one hour before bedtime. That gives the brain a chance to disengage and relax before sleep. By the way, this is a great time to encourage that archaic habit called "reading."

My kids also have one hard-and-fast rule that they have made me adhere to: When they are in the car, I'm not allowed to text, e-mail or talk on the phone -- Bluetooth or no. My job is to focus on the road and referee their fights. And believe me, that's more than enough brain stimulation for any one human being.


next: Sippy Cups for Mommy the Wino
47 comments so far | Post a comment now
Black Iris June 28, 2010, 7:36 AM

I think a time limit on social media is a good idea. And all of the rules should go for us, too!

www.kevinjroberts.net June 28, 2010, 9:33 AM

Thanks for your comments. Sleep issues and the Internet often go hand in hand. I run cyber recovery groups, http://kevinjroberts.net/?page_id=170
We find that over 80% of the folks that attend the groups manifest sleep disturbances. Of course, it is incredibly difficult to focus in school on short sleep, a fact especially punctuated by the increased sleep needs of adolescents. I support your recommendations wholeheartedly.

Matt June 28, 2010, 1:43 PM

Don’t tell me how to parent, and I won’t tell you how to parent. Are we clear?

Kay July 1, 2010, 11:30 AM

Teens do this, teens do that, teens are obsessed with this, teens go crazy with this.
Not all teens are social media whores.

Dolly September 22, 2010, 1:07 PM

Hola, Come On

Dolly

buy diazepam December 1, 2010, 2:48 PM

You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

adipex vs fastin December 9, 2010, 2:58 PM

I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful a lots of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

basit krep tarifi December 14, 2010, 12:35 AM

krep tarifi, tatli krep tarifi, sade krep tarifi, krep hamuru

Sample Organizational Chart Template Free December 15, 2010, 1:29 AM

There are only two ways of telling the complete truth—anonymously and posthumously.

Free Bridal Shower Games Printables December 15, 2010, 2:33 AM

The solution is to gradually become free of societal rewards and learn how to substitute for them rewards that are under one’s own powers. This is not to say that we should abandon every goal endorsed by society; rather, it means that, in addition to or instead of the goals others use to bribe us with, we develop a set of our own.

slabit pastile December 27, 2010, 5:39 AM

I was been after the Internet for this information and i wanted to thank u for this post. Also, just off topic, how can i download a version of this theme? – 10x

dieta anului 2011 January 2, 2011, 5:15 AM

I have been searching the Internet for this information and just wanted to thank u for this post. By the way, just off topic, how can i download a version of this theme? – Thanks

dieta anului 2010 January 2, 2011, 11:48 PM

I was been after the Internet for this information and i wanted to thank u for the post. BTW, just off topic, where can i find a version of this theme? – Thanks

dieta personalizata January 3, 2011, 8:59 PM

I was beeing looking the WWW for such information and i wanted to say thanks to you for the post. By the way, just off topic, where can i download a version of this theme? – Thank you

Tow Dolly Straps For Sale January 6, 2011, 1:20 PM

Pay no attention to what the critics say… Remember, a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic!

Gielda Transportowa January 11, 2011, 2:47 AM

You are my favourite website, I read your articles everyday.

dieta disociata January 11, 2011, 7:29 PM

I have beeing looking the google for this information and just wanted to thank you for the post. Also, just off topic, how can i find a version of this theme? – Thank you

oświetlenie łazienkowe January 22, 2011, 5:13 PM

THE BEST ARTICLE AT THE WORLD!

cheap mini blinds shades January 27, 2011, 8:34 PM

I have been looking around the web taking a look at webblog designs, when I ran across this place. I like the template, did you buy or modify this design? I got a internet site also and my template appears kinda poor as a result people do not visit on my webblog very long.

Torty February 1, 2011, 5:33 PM

I wish this article would never end.


Back to top >>
advertisement