Smartphone Addiction in Teens

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It’s a familiar scene: you’re trying to facilitate family bonding time and your teenager’s attention is off somewhere else, her eyes glued to her glowing smart phone. You’re exasperated! Is this normal, you wonder? It’s hard to comprehend what could be so important!  You begin to wonder if your teen has an addiction.

Well, it’s not outside the realm of possibility…

Many surveys and researches suggest that social media addiction occurs because we become hooked on the validation gained from having our posts “liked” and commented on. 62% of adults worldwide report an increase in self-esteem after they receive positive social-media feedback.

This phenomenon might be intensified for teens that are just beginning to build their identities outside of their parents. Teens across the globe are learning to equate the size of their online audience with feelings of love and acceptance… and when those likes stop rolling in, teens become unhinged.

Worried your teen might be a victim of modern age technology?

There’s a good chance that smartphone addiction is happening if your teen…

  • …feels uncomfortable when they do not have instant access to information
  • …gets angry when told they should leave the smartphone behind
  • …appears agitated when the battery on their smartphone is low, and abandons conversations or activities so they can plug their phone in
  • …frequently expresses concern about, or goes past, any data limit on their plan – and regularly asks to have more data if there is a limit
  • …seems incapable of navigating to a destination without checking for directions on their phone
  • …feels anxious any time they cannot check up on social media
  • …obsessively checks for new messages, and grows increasingly agitated if they go for a long period of time without receiving an update                                                               What can you do to help?                                                                                              1) Be a role model.                                                                                                     When you’re with your teen, be present and put your own phone away. The recent survey has discovered that  parents showed that the smartphone addiction is not restricted only to teens. In fact, 69% of parents admit that they check their phone every hour, with 56% of parents even admitting to checking their phone while they were driving! This alarming behavior does not go unnoticed by teens. Whether they realize it or not, teens are watching you to learn how to behave, so set a good example by limiting your own screen time at home.                                                            2) Set limits.                                                                                                                      Create “no phone zones” in your home to make sure that your teen is putting the phone away at certain points of the day. For example, teens shouldn’t be allowed to carry a phone to the dinner table or to their bedroom when they’re supposed to be going to sleep.                                                                                                                               3) Encourage in-person socialization.                                                                 Allow your teen to have his or friends over after school so they can spend time together in person instead of texting back and forth. Look for clubs or after school activities that your teen can participate in that will help him or her put the phone down and engage in other activities.                                                                                       4) Talk to teens.                                                                                                                      The older a teen is, the more likely they are to argue with you about any rules that you set. To avoid this additional conflict, talk to teens prior to establishing new smartphone rules. Tell your teen about how much he or she is missing out on by being glued to the phone, and tell them this is not a punishment, but rather a lifestyle change that you want the whole family to get on board with. Remind them that a handful of great friends are worth a million acquaintances.

The key to solving smartphone addiction isn’t to totally remove a teen’s smartphone as a part of their life – it’s simply to get them to recognize it as a tool, not a safety blanket, and that like all other tools it’s okay to put it down for awhile.

The ultimate goal is to promote a healthy online/offline balance that improves your child’s life instead of dragging them down and tying their happiness to a single object.

based on TeenSafe article

A Selfie – Fun or Dangerous?

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When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we first experience self-consciousness; this is the exact moment when an individual becomes aware of himself or herself as an object. Taking a selfie as a social phenomenon is a way through which people attempt to feel better about themselves. Very few selfies are meant to lighten someone’s mood or draw a smile on the face of a loved one.

The Most Common Types of Selfies

  • “I’m-having-fun-somewhere-cool!” Selfie — whether it’s the beach, a new coffee shop or a hike, many people snap selfies to show off their interesting adventures.
  • I-look-good-today-I-should-snap-a-picture Selfie — Occasionally, you wake up and think you look great! Teens might have a particularly good hair day, and they want the world to know it! While it might seem vain, at least these kinds of selfies (in moderation) demonstrate self-esteem! And that’s a good thing!
  • I’m-sad-I-want-people-to-know-how-bad-I-feel” Selfie — This one isn’t so good. Sometimes, in an effort to not feel alone, we project feelings and crying sessions that should probably be kept private.
  • Just-finished-a-workout!” Gym Selfie. — Again, this shows that teens are proud of their hard work. They want to share it! However, exercise and feeling good should be their own rewards.
  • Other Common Selfies: “The Car Selfie,” “The Fall-Weather Selfie,” “The Barefoot-Beach Selfie,” “The New-Haircut Selfie,” “The Awesome-Lunch Selfie”… You get the idea. The list is endless.

The common sense tells us Selfies are relatively harmless. Sure, posting too many can make you seem like a narcissist but can it be really actively dangerous for a teen?

 

A Selfie Gives Out Personal Information and Appearance

People either take selfies with friends or in other situations with celebrities. In both cases, people have to be more cautious about giving away information of time, place, and names of people they usually hang out with. By giving out this information, the person sharing it or other friends might be harmed if they are tracked down by a stalker. As you post a selfie on the Internet,  you are also letting others know how your friends and family members look like. While you think you are only doing something fun and light, you do not know that this might give a chance for someone else to use this information against you.  Therefore, you are also sharing with a potential online predator the places where you and your friends tend to hang out and the type of activities you tend to pursue. Selfie also sends the Message that “You Are Not Home”.

Criminal consequences aside, one of the biggest concerns for parents and professionals is Selfies Cause Anxiety in Teens.

Teenagers are already susceptible to low self esteem, and it’s well known that they tend to compare themselves to their peers. Selfies take this to destructive extremes because they force teenagers to compete with one another based on appearances alone, and this plays out day after day whether they’re at school or at home.
Every selfie taken is an opportunity for a teenager to express their emotions and personality. Unfortunately, every selfie posted is also an opportunity for criticism from peers, and teenagers understand this because they’ve seen so many others experience negative attention through social media selfie posts.

This is why teenagers spend so much time selecting clothing, styling their hair, and applying makeup before taking selfies. They also use filters and apps to touch up their photos, and many teenagers look significantly different in their selfies than they do in everyday life. It seems like who you are on social media is more important than who you are in real life for many of our tweens and teens.

When a selfie goes live, teenagers experience intense anxiety waiting for comments and likes. If a picture doesn’t receive much attention or negative comments are left, many teens assume that it  means they’re ugly or not liked. This leads to negative self talk that puts teens at heightened risk of depression. The response to a single selfie can determine how a teenager feels for days or weeks to come.

Talk to Your Teen About What They Post. Taking selfies can really get out of control, but there are some strategies they can follow to avoid being harmed or becoming extremely obsessed with the habit. For those who are taking too many selfies, they might start to think of taking less daily. Also, they ought to consider sharing them with close friends only and not with everyone else. Another great technique is to consider taking pictures of their work/study achievements rather than selfies showing off how they look or the way they are dressed up. This can give them something even more valuable to share with friends and family members, something that does not involve bragging about their looks or clothes.

Eventually, like it or not, what we post on social media affects the way people perceive us. And that in turn can affect job prospects, relationships, and our sense of self. So talk to your teen about the image they’re projecting on social media. Together, you can come up with ground rules to make sure selfies are safe and moderate! Then, you can snap a picture of the two of you together!

Enjoy parenting! And do not forget Safe Lagoon is always there to keep your child safe and happy!

-based on TeenSafe

Proper Parental Etiquette on Social Media

 

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“Mom, that’s so embarrassing! I can’t believe you posted that cheesy comment to my profile picture!”  

Sounds familiar? Social media is a relatively new phenomenon, and for many parents, it’s hard to determine proper etiquette. How often is it okay to participate in your child’s online interactions? Do you intervene at signs of trouble? Is it okay to send friend requests to your teen’s peers? Want to avoid being “that parent?”

Here are 5 tips to be social media savvy when it comes to your teens:

1.Interact Sparingly – There’s nothing wrong with the occasional “like” or brief comment on a particularly flattering photograph. And special occasions are a great time to make your presence known. (It’s always nice to get a “Happy Birthday” message, even from Mom or Dad!) The key here is to focus on quality of interaction, not quantity. Try to refrain from liking or commenting on every single picture and post. To you, it feels supportive, but to your child it can be embarrassing and feel intrusive. It’s likely your son or daughter is already cautious about what they post if they know you’re only a mouse click away. So give them a little space. They’ll appreciate it.

2.When in Doubt, Be an Observer – Teens divulge a lot online. It’s tempting to call them out when they’re “over sharing” with their Twitter followers or Facebook buddies.  However, if you really want a window into your child’s social life, observe from a distance. When you interact infrequently, your son or daughter will be more inclined to forget you’re monitoring their behavior. As a parent, this information is invaluable. You’ll be much more aware of what’s really going on and even gain a better understanding of your teen’s friends.

3.Discuss Issues in Person – So your teen posted an inappropriate status update and you want them to take it down immediately. Or perhaps your son or daughter is experiencing cyber bullying and you feel the need to intervene. Take a deep breath and consider your course of action. If you jump in and become authoritative online, you will most likely make the situation worse. Discuss concerns in person; don’t use the online platform to address issues. That way, your child saves face with his or her peers, and your family can have a dialogue without it being projected to a bunch of strangers.

4.Remind Them of Consequences – Without being overly negative, gently remind your teen that once something exists on the Internet, it’s hard to erase. Talk to your son or daughter about their future aspirations. If your child has a clear view of what they want out of their life and career in the next five or ten years, they might be less impulsive with what they post. It is widely known that your employer might secretly check out profiles of vacancy seekers before saying “yes” to them so tell your daughter that if she wants to run for office someday, she might think twice before sharing that objectifying selfie.

5.Social Media: Bringing You Together – Social media is a great thing! It allows family and friends who live far away to stay in touch. It helps introverts be social in a way that’s comfortable for them.  Facebook, Twitter and other platforms allow a certain kind of democracy that previous media lacked. Let social media be a power for good in your home! Let social media be just one more tool that brings you together.

Stay aware of things being ever present with not too much interference while Safe Lagoon help you monitor your teen’s activity from a safe distance.

-based on TeenSafe