Social media addiction is a real thing, and it is on the rise. Teenagers seem to suffer the most, as they attempt to stay up to date with friends and see the latest videos and updates from their favorite bands, movies and TV shows. For a parent, a teenager’s social media addiction can be scary. In some cases, it is ignored until it gets too bad.
The good news is you can deal with it. It is possible to help your teen focus on important elements in life, before giving in to the craving to check their online updates.
Don’t Ignore a Teenager’s Social Media Addiction
The first thing to do is admit that your son or daughter has a problem. Checking Facebook a couple of times a day isn’t that bad. The issue is when your teen is on the computer all hours of the day and night. Teenagers with an addiction will not sleep well, their in-person communication skills will suffer and their school work with deteriorate. You may have had calls from the school, or hear your children up throughout the night on the computer.
Discuss the Problem
Let your son or daughter know that you are worried about the time spent online. There are other risks with social media platforms, including sextorition and cyber bullying. By making it clear that you are worried, you can show that you’re not completely evil. Your child will also be more open to talking to you about their cyber problem.
Make it clear that you are not condemning your child. All you want to do is help. Many teenagers take criticism as blame, rather than seeing it as something constructive.
Ask Your Child to Account the Time Spent Online
Show that you trust your teenager. This is a way to help deal with a teenager’s social media addiction because you are giving him or her a chance to take proactive steps to control the situation. Ask for your teenager to monitor his or her own time online, and account for all the hours and minutes spent.
The problem with today’s world is that computers are needed for more than social media. Schools use them for homework, and they can be helpful in other ways. Accounting for the time spent online will help your teenager realize just how big the issue is.
Check the History Logs
If there are doubts in the amount of time that your son or daughter spends online, you can always check the browser history logs. Find out what sites your teen has been on, and make sure they are safe. There is a fine line between snooping and helping here.
Make it clear that you will—periodically—check the history on the computer. Yes, your teenager can delete the browser history, but will only do that if they are guilty of something. You’re not snooping if your teenager knows that there is a chance things will be checked. By doing this, you’re taking an active interest to make sure your child is safe online.
Set Computer Rules
Having rules for computer use is helpful. Tackling your teenager’s social media addiction by removing the computer altogether will cause other problems. The best thing to do is to limit their time spent online. This works well with your teen accounting for the time spent there. If there are school exams or essays due, expect your child to need a little more time online but still ask for the accounted list of hours.
Setting the rules also shows trust, while wanting to help. You’re trusting your teen to abide by your rules, making it clear that there are punishments for disobeying.
You’re not a bad parent. Social media and technology have grown considerably over the years, and a teenager’s social media addiction is a real thing. The best thing you can do is help your child realize there is a problem, and take steps to remedy it in the future.