Sometimes, as a parent, it is hard to know where to draw the line. Technology is a part of our society, and there is no doubt that ours is an online world. The internet and social media can be valuable resources, but they can also be a source of problems, too. Today, professionals and parents have many concerns about social media and mental health. Here are a few things you should know about the effects of social media on mental health.
Social Media and Mental Health for Teens
Social media affects today’s teens on a scale like no other generation in the past. They are always on their phones. It is not uncommon for teens sitting in the same room to text each other. It is the world in which they live, but this lack of real-world interaction can have some harmful effects. The same goes for the teen who is always gaming. So, how do you know when your teen’s behaviour has stepped outside of bounds?
The signs of social media overuse are similar to the symptoms that you see from other compulsive-impulsive disorders. The brain rewards itself for social interaction and achievements by creating a chemical called dopamine. This makes you feel good, and you want to do the action again to get a good feeling. Eventually, like any other compulsive behaviour, the brain builds a higher threshold, and it takes more of the behaviour to get the same feeling. That is where the problem comes into play.
The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
Eventually, social media can become a way to escape the real world and do something that feels good instead. This can be a good thing in small doses. However, too much can lead to problems in school, the erosion of relationships with friends and family, and can, eventually, lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
As with any other addictive behaviour, your efforts to control gaming and social media time will lead to secrecy, defiance, and rebellion. Any attempts to punish or control the behaviour could harm your teen’s trust in you. If there is a problem, you might see changes in your teen’s behaviour. Behavioural shifts revolve around socialization, education, and eating and sleeping patterns. If these patterns are a result of social media, it might be time to seek help for your teen.
How Is Social Media Overuse Treated?
You probably already know that this problem runs deep and that it has many similarities to any other addiction in terms of what it does to the brain. Punishing your teen or trying to solve the issue on your own usually does not work, and it can even make the problem worse. If you feel that your teen’s social media use goes beyond healthy interactions, it is time to consider getting help.
When you decide to contact Venture Academy, the first thing that will happen when you call the electronic addiction treatment program is that a 30-day assessment is conducted to help the counsellor gain an understanding of the underlying issues. This evaluation process allows the counsellor to see the bigger picture and evaluate the teen’s strengths and weaknesses.
Once your child completes the evaluation process, the counsellor develops an individual behaviour treatment plan to take advantage of your teen’s strengths and overcome weaknesses. The program uses a combination of individualized therapy, education, and small group processes to help your teen learn new coping strategies and reduce dependence on internet use.
Venture Academy has several teen behaviour program locations throughout Canada. If you are concerned about the effects of social media on mental health for your teen, it is time to call us at 866.762.2211.