Are you worried about your child’s social media use? Have you noticed a decline in mental health with an increase in social media use? Research shows that 1 in 4 teens have a social media addiction, and it can have a direct impact on their quality of life. Here are some tips to help your child overcome social media addiction.
Set a Good Example of Healthy Boundaries for Social Media Use
You’ve heard the phrase “lead by example,” but have you applied that to social media usage in your household? There is nothing wrong with casually scrolling on your phone after a long day at work, but you need to note what your child sees. If they see you constantly engaging with social media, they’re more likely to challenge you when you set boundaries.
Consider saving your social media scrolling for when your child goes to bed. Limit your screen time, and prioritize conversations as a family. Ask your child about their day, and engage with them regularly. This can help in many areas of life, not just social media moderation.
Have Open Conversations about Social Media
Your child probably doesn’t realize how dangerous or addictive social media can be. It’s easy to fall into a rabbit hole of inappropriate content, even if you have parental controls on your child’s phone. Create an open line of communication about social media and other issues your child may face. Make your home a safe space to discuss curiosities, challenges, frustrations, and stress. The more comfortable your child feels about sharing their life with you, the less likely they are to keep secrets.
Monitor Your Child’s Phone Use
It may feel invasive to monitor your child’s phone use, but sometimes, that’s the only way to protect them from dangerous interactions online. You can adjust the level of monitoring as your child ages. It helps if you’re transparent with your phone use as well. If you see something funny that is age-appropriate for your child to see, feel free to show it on your phone. Let them know you have nothing to hide, and they will be less inclined to hide as well.
Use Creative Strategies to Limit Screen Time at Home
Screen time has a snowball effect on behavioral issues, social media addiction, self-esteem, short attention spans, etc. However, kids today are often forced to interact with screens for learning or safety reasons.
Rather than banning screens completely, you may need to get creative with screen time limits. For example, you may have a central charging station in the house where phones go overnight, or you might keep your child’s phone in your room at night. You could set aside specific times for screen time and social media, or you may have rules about times when no phones are allowed (for anyone). Emphasize that screen time is a leisure activity, not a way of life.
Note Changes in Behavior, Self-Esteem, and Mental Health
Sudden changes in your child’s mood or behavior could indicate a bigger problem beneath the surface. These changes may be related to hormones, but there could be new stressors in your child’s life. Whether the issue is related to friendships, social media, relationships, or academic struggles, you can support your child through this difficult time.
CNLD Testing & Therapy provides teen counseling and family therapy in Southeast Michigan. We counsel teens dealing with depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, self-esteem issues, self-harming behaviors, and social media addiction. Contact us at (734) 994-9466 to learn how we can help.