Social media addiction refers to a compulsive disorder or irresistible urge to use social media apps to the extreme, at the expense of important tasks at home and school work.
What happens is that your child becomes utterly consumed with apps and virtual friends and is hopeless and lost when disconnected from online activity.
When these misadventures continue for long and without control, a lot of things can happen. Some of them are BAD and some other times maybe NOT ALWAYS bad. For today, our attention is focused on the bad things.
While it is true social media addiction has not been classified under the same category as smoking and alcohol ‘addictions‘, this modern-day disorder pre-disposes its victims to the following and other side effects:
- Tech neck and thump pain
- Digital malpractices such as cyberbullying
- Adult content and exposure to sexual predators
- Violent digital content
- Distorted image syndrome
- Social misplacement because of FOMO
- Low self-esteem
Before trying out any recovery hacks mentioned below, it is smart on your part as a parent to comprehend the symptoms of social media addiction.
Your child is probably addicted and needs help when one or all of the following social patterns begin to show: Your child
- uses social media for extended hours
- talks and interacts less with real-life friends
- uses social media at mealtimes
- always refers to social media updates
- is withdrawn without online presence
- fails to accomplish claaswork and other chores
- develops eating disorders while using the smartphone
5 smart tricks you can try out to treat social media addiction
1. You the parent as a role model
It is a good practice to look in the mirror and not throw the first stone when it comes to shaping the life of your growing child.
Ensure you are not walking the addiction road yourself, or worse, you are not an addict already. It is easy to play omnipotent when it comes to parenting and quite often taking kids for granted.
Smart parents should not use social media irresponsibly. For starters, you should not:
- Bury yourself on your smartphone instead of accomplishing productive tasks
- Use social media at mealtimes
- Share inappropriate posts, images, and other files
Instead, try to use social media with sound goals and for purposes that make sense even to children. The kids are monitoring your actions closely and using the lessons learned as buildings for the years to come.
2. Seek alternatives to social media
It is important to find out if boredom is part of the reasons your child is embracing social media to the extremes.
Plenty of pass-time activities exist that otherwise offer positive and physical nourishment to the well-being of your child.
Instead of devoting unmetered attention to social media and its side effects, it is wise to help your child seek alternatives for distractive purposes. Challenge your child to list down a host of outdoor activities he would rather do but are unable to because of one reason or another.
This should not be used as an excuse to ditch social media completely but to explore the innovative and creative side of your child.
There are many popular activities that children miss out on and will most likely love doing. These include:
- Outdoor games and activities
- Board games
- A visit to grand parenst in the country
- Reading and writing
- Site seeing over the weekend
Do not stick to one, but rather, expound on a variety of activities. The earlier this starts, the longer it will become part of your child’s life even to adulthood.
3. Enforce family routines
Oftentimes, the failure to have a structure that governs domestic routines is what leads to children doing whatever they want. This is made worse when you as a parent fail to intervene because you do not know how to.
Instill family values centered on discipline, time management, and productivity.
A family that creates and sticks to schedules is better placed to fight social media and other addictions. You can use the routine ‘thing ‘to have planned mealtimes and control the usage of electronic gadgets.
The following and other domestic activities can be planned and observed by everyone at home:
The routine presents opportunities to break social media addiction if it exists and create a responsible mindset by doing stuff at the right time.
4. The pep-talk and small treats
As a parent, make it a point to sit down with your child and cordially discuss the good and bad of social media overuse. Get him to understand these platforms are double-edged swords by big corps, aimed at promoting themselves for financial and other gains.
Your child should mind what he responds to via likes and comments, and apply them only when these add value to his well-being.
Discuss the value of face-to-face interactions over exploitive virtual connections, especially with unknown persons. Your child should understand what negative effects await him if he embraces social media without much thought.
Some of these include:
- Eating disorders
- Poor sleep
In addition, your child may want to consider implementing these:
- Turn off push notifications when in other productive activities
- Avoid following every trend and celebrity
- Be aware of stalkers and strangers
- Talk to real-life friends about the effects of social media on their lives and how they can cope
If your smart tricks fail to produce results you may want to refer the child to professionals.
5. Use digital health tools
Various tech companies have come up with digitally engineered tools to curb social media addiction. You can use one or the other or all of them and see the results.
- Dolmio Pepper Hacker
Besides the culinary tasks, specialized Dolmio tools can be used to shut down mobile phones, WiFi gadgets, and TVs all at once.
- Ikea’s Dinner hotplate
The Ikea dinner includes a hotplate which only works after users around the dinner have fed it with their phones.
- Time Limit Tools
Facebook and Instagram announced tools to help curb the unmetered use of these services. They include an activity dashboard, daily usage reminder, and notification muting features.
Apple and Google are set to do the same.
The final word on social media addiction
When all is said and done, social media gadgets and apps are probably necessary evils in the 21st century. They bring the world together through instant communication, and they are integral in fostering learning.
As much as any parents will want to curb their overuse, it is important to consider the value they add to life today.
If all parents career their way smartly on the issue of social media addiction they may not actually need to enforce any rules at the end of the day. Children only need to understand and use technology responsibly.