A Guide for Web Obsession

Social media is conceived as an internet-based form of communication, where individuals create profiles to engage and stay connected with the world. Recently, the use of social media has increased and is considered an essential part of today’s society. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, or any other platform, it has captured millions of users around the world, the heaviest of them are typically teenagers and young adults. Thus, they are the most affected users by its outcomes. Recently, we are witnessing intensive misuse of social media.

Therefore, parents must help their teenagers responsibly use social media and regulate the time they spent online because overusing these sites can lead to addiction and depression.

Although the use of social media seems like a new trend, the roots stretch far deeper than what you might imagine. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are the natural outcome of many centuries of social media development. According to a study done in 2018 by Pew Research Center “ Fully 95% of U.

S teens have access to a smartphone and 45% say they are active online almost constantly.” Another study from the same center found that two-thirds (65 percent) of parents are concerned about the amount of time their teenage children spend in front of screens.

Teenagers who overuse social media interactions may have interactive online lives, but in reality, they are living more in the virtual than in the real world, almost to a point of addiction. Teens are so emotionally invested in different social sites to a point where they are unable to avoid being online even if it is at night.

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Besides, most teenagers check their profiles before they sleep, and just after they wake up. This excessive use of it has been referred to as behavioral addiction. Similar to any other addiction, addicted teenagers undergo withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly stop using these online platforms. Professor Stefan Stieger, the author of the study that comes from the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences, explains: “As it turned out, a seven-day abstinence from social media triggered mild withdrawal symptoms among the subjects, similar to those associated with addictive substances.” He added that the symptoms are a mix of significantly increased urges; feelings of boredom; and whether a person is more often in a good or bad mood.

Moreover, social media applications act as the catalyst for destructive behaviors like cyberbullying. “There were consistent associations between exposure to cyberbullying and increased likelihood of depression,” said Michele Hamm, a researcher in pediatrics at the University of Alberta. Unfortunately, social media facilitates bullying because users usually hide behind anonymity and remove themselves from the consequences of harassment. Just because bullying is not being done face-to-face, doesn’t make it any less significant. It can cause even greater harm when done on social media rather than in person because it is seen and spread at a wide range. As an example, Emma a 14-year-old girl, and a victim of cyberbullying, talked to Common Sense Education on Youtube, about how embarrassing the bullying was when done in public. Alarmingly, teens feel embarrassed to reach out to trusted adults for help. They suffer in silence because they also don’t want parents or adults to take away their smartphones. According to a survey done by Anderson and her team, researchers at Pew Research Center, 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online. This harassment comes in different forms with name-calling and rumor spreading being the most forms used. Besides, the vast majority of teens (90% in this case) believe online harassment is a major problem that affects individuals their age. At a similar time, teens mostly think parents, teachers, and politicians are failing at highlighting this issue.

There’s no doubt that parental supervision is required to moderate the time teenagers spend online. Teens need help in managing their priorities because sometimes they struggle to control their temptations. It’s often much easier and far more tempting to go on Snapchat or Facebook than it is to get down to study. Sometimes, they would end up spending hours online without even realizing that. That’s why we encourage every parent to be part of the proactive efforts to help their teens manage their screen time. A good way is to set home rules that limit screen times during the day, and set the time when screens need to be turned off at night. Another way is through the use of “parental control apps” like screentime, offtime, break free and flipped. These applications can disable the phone after a certain time, and can also block notifications that usually remind the user of the applications again. Simon Hill, a technology journalist, states that “These parental control apps will help keep your kids’ device habits in check”. But telling the teens to shut off their smartphones while the parents themselves are on Snapchat, isn’t likely to be effective. “Be a role model and show your children healthy electronics use,” says Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and a lecturer at Northeastern University in Boston. Teens will learn more from what parents do than what they say. In addition, parents can encourage teenagers to do physical activities like going for a walk or doing some yard work. These activities not only enforce time away from screens but are beneficial for their physical and social health too.

Besides, parents who openly communicate with their teenagers are more likely to receive the same approach in response. Parents should discuss online safety, as well as cyberbullying, as soon as teenagers begin using technology. It is important for teenagers to feel comfortable while talking to their parents because fear of punishment can result in isolated or rebellious behavior. Neil Osterweil, a medical journalist in Boston, declares that “Parents and teens can bridge the communication gap with a little patience and a healthy measure of respect.” Consequently, parents need to build trust with their teenagers by having daily discussions about their days and any issue that is discussed must be kept in the strictest of confidence. One important aspect of building this trust is listening without judgment. The skill of listening gives the teenagers time and attention to get beneath surface chat and reach the bottom of real issues that make them uncomfortable like cyberbullying. “ The most helpful way to address online safety and bullying is through open communication with children about these issues,’ states John Ryan, the president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). As parents open the cyberbullying issue for discussion, they should support their teenagers, raise their self-confidence and work with them to take steps to stop the bullying. For example, when teenagers show you a text, tweet, or comment on Facebook that is harsh, mean, or cruel, let them know that it’s not their fault, and that bullying says more about the bully than the victim. Praise them for telling you, and show them steps to block the bully.

In addition, Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be an effective treatment for teens who are coping with depression and social media addiction. It is a short-term and problem-focused type of behavioral treatment. It helps the teenagers consider the relationship between their thoughts and their following behavior patterns. The main aspect of this therapy is that external events and individuals do not cause the negative thoughts or feelings, it’s our thoughts that relate to our external behaviors. Consequently, CBT therapists work with depressed teenagers to boost their happiness by identifying patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind their depression and then work to change this distorted thinking. As well, Davis R. A, defines in his Cognitive-Behavioural Model of Pathological Internet Use(2001), healthy use of the internet as using it in a period that is considered reasonable and with a clear purpose. Thus distinguishing the difference between real communication and online communications. Positive effects of CBT within the treatment of internet addiction were tested and emphasized by Several Erden and Osman Hatun after seven sessions of treatment on a client who was thought “life had no meaning” when she was not online.

However, teenagers’ quest for independence continues to be a major conflict with their parents. In one corner, they want to differentiate themselves, form their values, and figure out their own right decisions. Thus, they reject the rules that limit screen times and consider it a ban on their rights. In the other corner, are the parents who are applying their life experiences to protect their teenagers. These power struggles are destructive to the relationship between teenagers and their parents. According to psychotherapist Neil Brown, these battles occur as the result of self-perpetuating negative relationship patterns. Besides, interparental conflicts act against discipline rules. Families where each parent follows different rules and different discipline strategies with their teenagers are more likely to lose control over their behaviors. Kathy Hardie-Williams, a marriage and family therapist, confirms that: “Parental conflict can result in reduced parental involvement, harsh discipline practices, lack of praise and acknowledgment, and increased parent-child conflict.”

In conclusion, parents should monitor the time their teenagers spend online and be part of the proactive efforts to help them responsibly use social media. The goal, after all, isn’t to control and prevent them from using their smartphones but to moderate the use of online sites. In the end, teenagers today are the backbones of the country and a strong building always has a strong foundation. Therefore, it’s important to change the destructive patterns of social media use before it destroys our future generation.

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A Guide for Web Obsession. (2022, May 25). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-guide-for-web-obsession/

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