Today’s teens spend a lot of time online, often using one of many social media platforms. Studies show that social networking could play a significant role in everything from teen depression to substance abuse. The dangers of social media addiction in teens are becoming more of a concern, too. It starts with social media abuse. If you’re concerned about your teen’s social media abuse, please contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today at 866.300.5275.
What Is Social Media Abuse?
Social media is a challenge for today’s teens, one which their parents didn’t have when they were young. Social media communication forces teens to be available 24/7. It is a daily part of their lives, and for some, social media use is an addiction.
Things such as post likes can trigger the brain’s reward center the same way exercise or drug use will. That trigger means the release of a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. If that sounds familiar, it is because that is the same mechanism that occurs with drug abuse.
Using drugs like heroin will trigger the release of that same chemical. And, just like with drugs, the brain can become dependent on social media exposures to release that necessary chemical.
How Social Media Impacts Emotional Health
Research shows that teens who check mainstream social media platforms like Facebook 50 to 100 times a day can suffer from anxiety and stress. Social media contact serves as positive reinforcement, and that releases the chemical that makes you feel good.
What happens when you get no feedback from social media? It can be depressing and lead to acting out, especially for teens whose brains are still developing.
What Ways Do Teens Abuse Social Media?
Teen social media use can lead to drama and online bullying. Teens may be aggressors or victims of bullying via social media platforms, which shapes the way a teen sees himself and how he treats other people.
Social media also glamorizes unhealthy behaviors like binge drinking, smoking or vaping, bullying, and drug use. Influencers can make these behaviors seem normal. Social media can also be a catalyst for mental health problems for substance use disorder or disordered eating.
Some ways teens might abuse social media include:
- Using it to talk to people they don’t know: Stranger danger seems less apparent behind a computer screen.
- Bully others: It is easier to be cruel to someone if you don’t have to see their face or get to know them in person.
- Use it to determine self-worth: The flip side of online bullying is being bullied. It is easy to use social media attention and negative posts to define self-worth.
- Distractions: Even those without a social media addiction can use platforms like Facebook and TikTok as a distraction to keep them from doing things like study or exercise.
- Sharing intimacies online: Social media can be sexualized in many ways. Intimacies don’t have to be sexual, though, It could be sharing information about yourself or others in an inappropriate and unsafe way.
It’s important to talk to your teen about the dangers of social media. If you need support, please reach out to Foothills at Red Oak today at 866.300.5275.
Investing in Social Media Rehab for Your Teen
Studies show that social media can have a similar impact on the brain as drugs or alcohol. Foothills at Red Oak Recovery offers social media rehab for male teens ages 14 to o17. The facility sits on a 94-acre horse farm in a rural area near Charlotte, NC.
Services at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Trauma therapy
- Family therapy
Our social media addiction program is one of several process addiction services we offer.