Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become such an integral part of all our lives. Like most things in life, social media is not evil in itself but should be used with moderation. Today both adults and children are getting so caught up interacting online that we forget to really live in the real world. Adults and children are getting “addicted” to social media.
A study from Harvard University showed that social media addiction fires up a part of the brain that also lights up when taking an addictive substance, like cocaine. So it is a serious addiction.
Are you or your child is addicted to social media? Take our poll. If you answer Yes to at least four questions, then know you are addicted to social media.
- When you wake up, you reach for your phone first to check your social media accounts
- You check social media everywhere you go
- You spend hours scrolling through your social media accounts
- You check you social media every few minutes
- You have more online social media friends than real life friends
- You share everything you see, say or do on social media
- You hang out with friends but spend more time checking/updating your social media accounts
- You don’t discuss your personal problems with friends/family but turn to social media for distraction and comfort.
- You get very upset if you forget your phone at
- You get upset and angry when you don’t have Wifi or somewhere to charge your phone.
For children, social media addiction interferes with their perception of reality as the lines can become blurred between real life and the illusion of perfection created on social media. This can put undue pressure on children to want to behave badly to get more “likes” and friends. It also puts pressure on their self esteem and confidence level. Lastly, social media interactions tends to hinder the development important social skills required for life.
TAKING AWAY ACCESS TO SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT THE ANSWER. Prohibiting the use of internet is definitely not a realistic expectation. The role of the parents in this age of social networking is to be aware of the dangers and not let your child escape reality by completely submerging oneself in the illusion created by the social media. The most important thing in preventing the development of social media addiction is to limit screen time and ensure that your child has plenty of things going on offline to keep him or her interested. This includes various hobbies, events, meetings with friends and going out with the family.