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Teen Talk: Social Media Addiction

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Posted at 8:51 AM, Jun 22, 2015
and last updated 2017-05-30 12:03:48-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - This week's Teen Talk is focused on advice dealing with social media addiction.

WTXL contributor and family therapist Jane Marks says summer can be a huge opportunity for parents to talk with teens about these issues. We will start with social media and smart phone usage. It’s not about one conversation or one small conversation, it’s about thousands of conversations and it’s also about you coaching and you navigating digital literacy and citizenship. Always maintain interest in what your teen is doing on the phone and have them show you why they like it.

1. Parents need to be aware of the content that goes back and forth on your child’s social phones. Some really good parental control apps used to monitor cell phone usage include Phone Sheriff, Qustodio, Net Nanny, My Mobile Watchdog. These are tools that give parents piece of mind by providing inside control over their smart phone use. This tools lets parents see who their kids call or text most often and how many minutes of text and data their children are using. It also enables parents to remotely disable their kid’s phones for up to 30 minutes.

2. Smart phone use if very seductive for teens. Teens are mindful that the texts that they send or their latest tweet could possibly go viral. So parental control apps for cell phones can help kids understand the value of limits in a digital world but also you have to be mindful of accessing adult web content.

3. Parents need to be cognizant of smart phone addiction. Excessive electronic media use at night is certainly a risk factor. Other symptoms include anxiety, depression, withdrawal, attention deficit, sleep disturbances, delinquency, aggression and poor problem solving. There seems to be a consistency straight across the board about the use of smart phones

4. “Nomophobia”, Internet Use Disorder, and Phomo Anxiety are terms used when diagnosing smart phone/internet addiction. Remember smart phones are psychoactive and are weaved into the pattern of the teen’s daily life. It is now standard practice for clinicians to screen for internet/computer addiction and smart phone addiction.

5. Other indicators of smart phone addiction include kids who demonstrate a high degree of anxiety when their smart phone is lost or taken away, always taking their smart phones into the rest room or to bed at night. Cracked screens and well over 50 apps on the phone and three to five text threads going on at all times are strong indications of smart phone abuse as well.

6. Smart phones offer the capabilities to fuel enjoyable feelings by rewarding us with constant updates any time or any place. Most teens who are addicted build up a tolerance to fast paced texts and apps on their smart phones.

7. Phantom vibrations can be a warning sign of smart phone addiction. Other signs may include uncomfortable withdrawal, weight loss, insomnia, anxiety, isolation from family and friends.

8. Parents here are some ideas to combat smart phone addiction; create “No Phone Zones”, deposit phones by the door charging, even in the summertime. Reclaim family dinners or the experience. Designate certain periods of the day to access social media, a particularly difficult task during the summertime. Ban phones completely while driving or walking, safety first.

9. Remember parents, smart phone addiction is no laughing matter. Even for you as parents the next time a ring tone alerts you to an incoming message consider the amount of time you spend on yourself and your focus. Smart phone addiction may appear to be a small issue or trivial but a teen smart phone addict can suffer serious consequences if the addiction is not addressed.

10. Parents, you too must regulate your own phone use. You as parents have to teach your kids how to manage their relationship with technology. It’s tricky business parenting these days.