How to deal with excessive social media use among young people and adolescents

Social media is a tool with great potential for connecting with others and for spreading and receiving ideas, but it also has its downside. One is the ease with which we “get addicted” to them, even leading to addiction problems, practically addictions based on repetitive behaviors.

The young population is particularly vulnerable to this type of behavior, which is why many parents they worry that their son or daughter spends a large part of the day focusing on these digital platforms. Fortunately, psychology gives them several clues to help them overcome this type of addiction.

    How to deal with young people who make excessive use of social networks?

    Earlier, we noted that young people are more likely to overuse social media to the point of let them absorb your attention. This is mainly due to these elements which, while not necessarily having to occur in each of them individually, are statistically characteristic of adolescence and post-adolescence:

    • They are more interested in gaining the acceptance and admiration of their peers.
    • They want to control the image that others have of themselves.
    • They want to be on the cutting edge and not be left behind by dominant themes and aesthetics.
    • Much of their socializing is already happening on the Internet.
    • They are more vulnerable to discomfort due to lack of self-confidence and may have an “avatar” on the Internet.

    As we have seen, adolescence is usually defined by, among other things, seemingly contrasting things: the desire to stand out and at the same time fit in, the stress of not revealing personal insecurities and at the same time the pressure to have a public presence in front of thousands of Internet users. Social networks play with these dynamics creating both the promise of exciting incentives (mass acceptance) and the fear of ‘staying out of the game’, the so-called FOMO syndrome (from the English “fear of losing you”).

    On the other hand, if we add to this that social networks take advantage of the information that their millions of users pour into them to offer the most personalized and addictive experience possible, the result is that many young people live practically for and for these. platforms. .

    What to do about it, as parents, guardians or educators? If we have detected a case of excessive social media use by a teenager, and if this problem results in family conflict, family therapy is ideally used. another option. However, beyond that, there are several tips that can help young people “get off the ground.” They are as follows.

    1. Establish schedules and ensure compliance

    Banning a teenager from social media altogether is, in most cases, a bad idea.: Most of your circle of friends regularly use these platforms to communicate with each other, to go out, to talk about shared experiences, etc.

    Therefore, he will surely end up “skipping” this ban in one way or another and not even trying to stop overusing these social networks, seeing everything related to this desire as an imposition.

    It’s best to set limits on how much time you need to spend using social media and think of it as a quantitative change, not a qualitative change. You will be able to continue doing everything you have done, but with more moderation.

      2. Help him make the most of the time he saves

      In order for him to get involved in this process, it is important to help him focus on the positive things he is achieving with it.

      The most visible benefit of coming off social media is having more timeSo make calculations together on the hours you will save by limiting your use of these platforms, and plan a time or two per week that you can devote to doing something that you enjoy beyond the screens (activities with or without your participation ).

      Once that is done, suggest that the goal be set to have these moments, physically putting them in your schedule; From that point on, you will have a constant reminder of how to manage your time, and you will learn to value it.

      3. Help him identify the times when he uses his smartphone unnecessarily

      The smartphone is an electronic device that we often use simply without considering whether it is really necessary; we only use it because it’s always there, accessible in two seconds, and easily provides us with stimuli. So it’s a constant source of distraction, although we had better use that time in some other way.

      Therefore, think together about what are those times of the day when the smartphone even reluctantly. In this way, you can avoid these situations and prevent mobile from being a temptation. For example: is it really unnecessary for you to use your phone as an alarm clock, literally making you spend the first few minutes of the day staring at a screen?

      4. Set an example

      It is very important lead by example and show her that it’s perfectly possible not to always use social media.

      Are you looking for psychological assistance?

      If you are interested in starting a psychotherapy process or if you are looking for advice related to the upbringing and upbringing of your children, please contact us.

      Fr Advanced psychologists we have been offering our services to people with all kinds of problems in managing emotions or behaviors for over 20 years, and currently we not only work through face to face sessions, but also offer call therapy online video.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Karim, F .; Oyewande, AA; Abdalla, LF; Ehsanullah, RC; Khan, S. (2020). Social media use and its link to mental health: a systematic review. Cureus, 12 (6): e8627.
      • Pantic, I. (2014). Online social media and mental health. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 17 (10), 652-657.
      • Scott, H. and Clelland, H. (2019). Understanding the Links Between Social Media Use, Sleep, and Mental Health: Recent Advances and Current Challenges. Current Sleep Medicine Reports, 5 (3), 141-149.

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