FOMO: Ways to Help Teens Overcome their Social Media Addiction

FOMO (or “Fear of Missing Out”). Social media addiction. All of human knowledge at a user’s fingertips. Today’s world is very different from the world of even twenty years ago. All of a sudden, new technology has created opportunities and turned everyday routine on its head. However, these advances did not occur without side effects: new pitfalls and dangers that would have seemed ridiculous not too long ago. In 2017, these hazards are as real as ever and more damaging than many parents realize.

Life Under FOMO

For many parents, it is difficult to imagine the sheer impact that social media addiction can have on a child’s life – largely due to the fact that in most parents’ childhoods these realities simply did not exist. Consequently, many adults dismiss the true impact of social media addiction as a misnomer: after all, addiction can be to a substance, not a screen! Unfortunately, this mentality can severely hinder a child’s well-being.

Social media addiction is an addiction like any other. In fact, in many ways, it is even more dangerous, since it can be difficult to diagnose and define. Often, the true extent of being addicted to electronics or social media isn’t evident until access is removed. Once a person cannot log in to check social media, they begin experiencing very real, physical symptoms of withdrawal. The situation is exacerbated by the presence of another mental illness or social disorder. For example, a child who has trouble connecting with peers may use computers as a form of escape; then, before they have a chance to notice the problem, they become addicted.

A similar idea can be seen in FOMO. With so many aspects of social communication now happening online in real time, a person may find themselves under constant pressure to monitor their social media around the clock in the fear that they will “miss out” on something important while they are away. The problem is extremely widespread. As of 2016, 24% of teenagers describe themselves as being online “almost constantly”.

Finding Help

Helping a teenager with social media addiction begins at home. Tempting as it may seem for parents, forcing a teenager to quit “cold turkey” often causes more harm than good. Instead, curbing the habit and replacing it with healthy, real-life patterns (such as sports) can guide a child back onto a path toward wellness.

If your child is suffering from social media addiction, it may be time to consider professional help. Elevations helps teens of all genders 13-18 overcome their struggles and return to a healthy path. For more information, call today!