Social Media Addiction in Adolescents
In today’s culture being “on” and participating in social media is almost a right of passage. Our family, friends, and coworkers are all using social media as a way to connect with their surroundings. Our teenagers can be negatively impacted by social media and develop an obsession with social media that can lead to unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Recent studies have been able to directly link social media addiction with depression, anxiety, ADHD and feelings of loneliness. When counseling an adolescent who is struggling with social media addiction it is important to identify what the purpose of the behavior is. I find that some teens use social media as an escape, others use it to connect with peers. Social media is not all bad. However, it is common for adolescents to take it to the extreme. Finding a balance is key when addressing social media addiction in adolescents.
Adolescent Social Media “Red Flags”
- Spending more than 3 hours a day on social media outlets
- Using social media as a distraction when feeling uncomfortable
- Mood shifts that are directly related to social media behaviors (Ex. Not getting enough “likes”, fear of missing out)
- Self-esteem is negatively impacted due to social media use
- Comparing image and lifestyle to others causing a decline in mood
- Using social media to bully peers
- Irritable if unable to use social media
I’ve helped many teenagers identify how their social media is negatively affecting their life and work with them to come up with a healthy balance.
“I focus on helping adolescents find balance
between being part of the social media era, while also
taking care of their emotional and mental health.”
Interested in this topic? Here are a few articles that focus on social media addiction.
Griffiths, M.D., Kuss, D.J. & Demetrovics, Z. (2014). Social networking addiction: An overview of preliminary findings. In K. Rosenberg & L. Feder (Eds.), Behavioral Addictions: Criteria, Evidence and Treatment (pp.119-141). New York: Elsevier.
Kuss, D.J. & Griffiths, M.D. (2011). Online social networking and addiction: A literature review of empirical research. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8, 3528-3552.
Abby Bernstein LMHC, is a mental health therapist treating adolescents, eating disorders and addictions in Boca Raton FL.