Social media is something that has become an integral part of teenagers’ lives. Even adults who profess to hate social media will often check their Facebook first thing in the morning or absent-mindedly scroll through Instagram on their lunchbreak. It’s no wonder that teenagers want to use social media sites, but is this kind of 24/7 connectivity good for their developing brain?
A Time Sink
One of the main problems that parents have with their teens being on social media is that it’s a waste of time. Social media is not exactly productive, and if your teenager is already complaining they don’t have enough time to study and do chores, then a quick look at the time spent on their phone will tell you otherwise. Teenagers spend an average of nine hours a day online, but the good news is that even this age group realize it’s an issue — with nine out of ten teens saying it’s a problem. Discuss how they can cut down their screen time, whether it’s through self-discipline or with a productivity app.
Fueling Social Anxiety
When you scroll through social media, you don’t really get a true picture of people’s lives — you only see the good parts. Teenagers who spend a lot of time on social media may think they’re the only ones not on jet-setting vacations or invited to fabulous parties, which can lead to social anxiety disorder or SAD. In serious cases of social anxiety or social media addiction, you may wish to check out igniteteentreatment.com to find out the kinds of therapy that can treat these issues.
Parents Don’t Always Understand Social Media
As a parent, you may use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms and feel you have a good grasp of their functions and potential pitfalls. The problem is, new platforms are emerging all the time, so parents don’t always know what their teenager is doing. For example, Snapchat is, on the one hand, a way to share fun pictures with friends, but the platform has had its fair share of controversy with people using it to find and groom children. Read up on the most popular social media apps for children and stay up to date with what’s popular.
It Can Cause Body Issues
While social media platforms are doing a lot to get rid of pro-eating disorder accounts, there’s still a link between eating disorders and heavy social media use. Many pictures that end up on these platforms are heavily edited and filtered, so vulnerable teens won’t realize that these looks aren’t achievable. Some posts also evade social media rules on eating disorders by using tags around fitness and health, so a teenager who is innocently looking up these topics can soon stumble into darker corners of the net.
While social media can be useful for a lot of things, from organizing events to staying in touch with long lost relatives, there’s no doubt that teenagers using these platforms should be protected. From limiting their screen time to following their accounts, you can check they’re using social media responsibly and aren’t living their entire life online.