Information access and a virtual presence are fundamental elements for today’s digital natives. Teens growing up in this technology-centric society seek instant gratification and recognition with a photo snap and a swipe. The ease of access to mobile devices in every teen’s pocket leads to an increased risk of social media addiction.
Understand how teens become addicted to social media to address the issue with your kids.
The brain’s response mimics addiction
Engaging with social media platforms triggers a dopamine release in the brain. This activates the brain’s reward center as a pleasure-seeking activity. This stimulating effect and the dopamine rush create a response in the brain similar to one experienced by an addict.
Teen brains are still developing
Teens are particularly susceptible to this addiction from social media use because adolescence triggers a significant period of brain growth. Extensive social media use during this period can wire a teenager’s brain to need that instant gratification that comes from digital platforms. This can create a tendency toward addictive and obsessive behaviors, ADHD symptoms and self-regulation challenges.
Moderation is key
Protecting teenagers from social media addiction means proactively moderating their use of digital platforms. Restrict social media use to no more than an hour or two a day and monitor use for signs of dependency, emotional effects or body image issues.
Recognizing the ill effects of social media use for teens and what makes them more susceptible to addiction can help every parent protect their children from further predisposition to addictive behaviors.