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Social Media Addiction: 3 Effects and Tips to Protect Your Child From It

Social Media Addiction

Social media—be it TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram—have become a big part of teenagers’ daily lives. From sharing moments with friends to exploring new trends and interests, these platforms offer a virtual playground where teens can express themselves, connect with others, and discover new perspectives. 

But do you know that excessive use of social media—or, let’s say, social media addiction—can be harmful to your teen’s mental health? Several researches have shown a causal link between social media use and decreased well-being or mood disorders. 

In this article, we’ll discuss some adverse effects of social media addiction on teens. We’ll also share a few tips that will help you save them from becoming a social media addict. 

3 Effects of Social Media Addiction on Teens

Social media addiction can harm your teen’s mental and emotional well-being in numerous ways. Here, we’ll discuss some of them:

1. Body Image Issues

Social media addiction can exacerbate body image issues among adolescents. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram expose kids to unrealistic images of beauty. Teens, thus, feel pressured to conform to those online standards, leading to a damaging cycle of comparison and self-criticism. 

Your kid might feel worse about their body if they use Instagram. TruLaw reveals that 32% of teenage girls and 14% of teen boys blamed Instagram for making them feel worse about their bodies. 

Dozens of U.S. states have filed Instagram lawsuits suing Meta for fueling a youth mental health crisis. Some of them include California, Illinois, and New York. 

A large portion of the lawsuits allege that Instagram’s features, such as filters, alerts, and likes, promote body dysmorphia among young users. Teens with body dysmorphic disorder spend a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance, which are often undetectable to others.

2. Sleep Deprivation

Teens require eight to ten hours of sleep per night. But quite shockingly, only one in five high schoolers get a good night’s sleep. The reason? Social media’s fast-paced content and stimulating nature can make it difficult for them to sleep. 

Teens today spend 4.8 hours, on average, on social media platforms daily. That’s way more than they should. Excessive use of social media can make your teen sleep-deprived. The consequences of sleep deprivation can be significant. Lack of sleep might contribute to mood disorders, poor academic performance, and mental health problems. 

3. Depression

Excessive social media use increases the risk of depression in teens. Children of 12 to 15 years of age are twice at risk of adverse mental health outcomes, including depression, if they use social media for more than three hours a day. 

Artfully curated pictures of other people make teens view themselves negatively. This makes them feel bad about themselves, contributing to depression. Cyberbullying is another reason behind teens’ depression. When someone harasses or threatens them online, it can lead to increased feelings of depression. 

3 Tips to Save Your Teen From Becoming a Social Media Addict

Here are some tips that will help you protect your teen from social media addiction:

1. Set Limits on Social Media Use

Setting limits on social media use is a great way to ensure your teen doesn’t become addicted to it. 

A small randomized controlled study among college-aged students demonstrated that reducing social media use to 30 minutes daily for three weeks significantly improved depression severity. Allow your teen to use social media for no more than 30 minutes. However, if they disagree, you can set the limit to one to two hours. But make sure they don’t exceed that. 

2. Monitor Your Teen’s Social Media Use

It’s essential for parents to monitor their teen’s social media use. You must also do that. This will help you learn about their online activities and detect potential red flags. 

Familiarize yourself with the platforms your teen uses and follow them on those. This will allow you to check the pages and people they follow. Apps like Bark allow parents to monitor their teens’ social media use. Consider using them. You can even ask them for their passwords, though some consider it an invasion of privacy. 

Read More: Unraveling the Impact of Social Media in Modern Mysteries and Thrillers

3. Engage Them in Outdoor Activities

Engaging your teen in outdoor activities offers a refreshing break from the digital world. It will also promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being, so why not do that? 

Encourage your teen to get out of the house and explore nature. Activities such as biking or hiking will help them do that. Outdoor play stimulates creativity, sensory development, and problem-solving skills. You should persuade your child to play sports, such as cricket. 

Also, create regular opportunities for outdoor adventures as a family. It could be anything—a weekend camping trip, a nature scavenger hunt, or simply a walk in the park. 

To wrap things up, spending too much time on social media is harmful for teens. It could lead to body image issues and depression and make them sleep-deprived. You can, however, protect them from getting addicted to social media by following the tips mentioned above. Besides minimizing the risk of addiction, these tips will help your teen develop a healthy relationship with social media. 

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