Addiction In Our Youth
The Oxford Languages definition of addiction is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. When we as a society think of an addiction, we resort it to alcohol, drugs, or anything resulting in negative chronic behavior. We fail to realize that most of us experience everyday addiction, especially our youth and the addiction of social media. Social media challenges the mental health of many teenagers across the globe, resulting in various forms of stress, anxiety and depression. This is a common problem nationwide, but that doesn’t mean it is inexorable.
According to a research report done by Common Sense Media, many teens spend an average of about seven hours on their phones daily. Kids aged from 8 – 12 are not too far behind in the number of teen hours , averaging nearly 5 hours a day. Long hours spent on technology are known to lead to anxiety, depression, and can result in being easily distracted from school work and finishing tasks. Prolonged hours of technology also negatively affects communication skills, making human interaction very difficult or “awkward” for various teens. These types of statistics show us how technology may pay a heavy toll on the youth of this generation, who will soon enough be our adults, leaders, and teachers. How will our upcoming youth be able to speak up for new opportunities or engage into new relationships with others, if the only way they know how to express themselves is through an app?
Social media is also a big factor to why many young people are insecure of themselves. As teens go through the stages of puberty, they progressively become more aware of their appearance amongst peers, close friends, and family. Any little remark, opinion, or comment can cause second thoughts on how your appearance looks towards others . With the addition of social media, teenagers see “perfect” looks and posts showing what others may have, not realizing that the people they see are human too . Many teenagers don’t see beyond the “perfect” picture and how that person may have their own struggles; Instead; they only observe what they don’t own, have, or look like. These situations can cause much envy towards others due to their self ideals of how someone may look better or have better materials. Lack of self confidence and insecurity caused by social media is very common amongst teens, and many don’t realize.
Most of all, social media addiction plays a big role in sleep deprivation. It is known that teenagers should get about 8-10 hours of sleep per day, but with activities such as school, homework, extracurricular activities, and work, you don’t always get those fulfilling hours some nights.Where the problem comes in is when many students start to log on social media before bed or in the middle of the night . This can lead to excessive hours of screen time and take away a great deal of sleep which could energize you for the next day. Sleep deprivation in teens is known to cause depression, anxiety, low performance in school, mood swings, and excessive eating. On the physical health side, lack of sleep can also cause sickness due to sleep deprivation lowering the immune system.
Although addiction to social media may be a hard cycle to break amongst many teens, that doesn’t mean it isn’t unbreakable. There are many precautions that both teens and parents can follow to ensure that their child is mentally healthy, doing well in school, and receiving the sleep hours that they need for the next day. One method that may help students is managing screen time. Knocking off about 4 to 5 hours of daily use on an teenagers phone can really be effective towards finishing school work, getting better grades in school, and helping students have better sleep. Another effective way to help social media addiction with teens is either communicating with them or having them talk to a therapist. This can help express the true raw emotion that they reside behind phone screens and bottle up against the people that they care about