Image source: Flickr user- Yoel Ben-Avraham
Is your teen constantly on their phone? Does she get extremely upset or anxious when you mention revoking her technology privileges? It could be social media anxiety. Social media anxiety can derive from Fear of Missing Out, otherwise known as FOMO. FOMO is basically a sense of being left out of all the exciting things being posted online.
The acronym, FOMO, may seem like another silly slang term, but it carries very real consequences for teens. Social media anxiety is still anxiety, which means it can cause a teen to sleep less, change eating patterns, have panic attacks, and have extreme feelings of self-doubt and worry that could develop into depression. Those are just a few of the possible implications of this type of anxiety untreated.
Ways to help your teen with social media anxiety
If your teen often seems stressed out after being on their phone or laptop, or sleep deprived from staying up checking social media and texting, these tips may be able to help.
- Don’t be judgemental. Spending an ungodly amount of time scrolling through instagram or sending snaps on snapchat may seem superficial to you, but it may be something very real to your daughter. That may be the way they mainly communicate with others, even if it isn’t the same way you used to communicate when you were her age. This social media related anxiety that their showing can most definitely cause real issues, which means you need to make sure they know you’re there for them.
- Be open to listening. Social media related anxiety is real. FOMO is real. They developed as a result of new technology in the world, which means you need to adjust and be open to thinking it’s a problem that needs real attention.
- Support other offline activities. Shifting your daughter’s focus from their phone to other activities can’t be forced, but you can nudge her towards them. Ask her what she’s interested in; if she likes art, offer to sign her up for an after-school art class. Support what she wants to do, not what you want her to do.
- Create clear boundaries. This could be something like a technology curfew an hour before bed. Make sure your daughter knows so she can warn her friends that she won’t have her phone at a certain time, otherwise it could cause unintended anxiety. This allows your child time to wind down from social media and an uninterrupted night’s rest.
- Don’t be afraid to seek professional help. As a parent, you can’t always solve all of your child’s challenges alone. If you really believe your daughter has social media anxiety and it’s negatively affecting her, it may be time to seek out professional care.
Asheville Academy for Girls can help
Asheville Academy for Girls is a therapeutic boarding school for young girls, ages 10 to 14, struggling with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other behavioral issues. We will strive to help your family work through this difficult period and move your daughter towards a healthier future.
For more information about how Asheville Academy for Girls can help your daughter, call 800-264-8709 today!