Unhealthy Social Media Use in Girls: Getting Help Through Residential Treatment

Our world is increasingly connected by technology. Tweets, likes, posts, and snaps permeate our daughter’s lives now–whether we like it or not. The internet and social media can be used for good, like connecting with people half-way across the world or receiving support–but it has a dark side and we all know it.

The dark side has to do with cyberbullying and girls basing their self worth off of how they look or how many likes they get on photos–these issues can easily lead to a need for residential treatment.

Adolescents live a very different life than you lived at their age. Navigating social media use and understanding it can be difficult for parents, which is why I’ve compiled need-to-know facts and information concerning the world of “snaps” and “instas.”

Problematic social media use in girls

According to a study by Pew Research Center, over 90 percent of teens go online daily and nearly 25 percent report being online “almost constantly.” While going online daily may not be an issue, “almost constantly” being online could have its complications. This type of behavior could even fit the bill for internet addiction. More often, though, it means that cyberbullying is easier and that our daughters are being exposed to various types of media throughout the day through technology.

You may not think that’s an issue, but the media has been shown through research to have a negative effect on young girl’s body image and self-worth–two things that residential treatment specializes in helping. It’s not just the media, either–it’s what’s asked of young girls on the internet, too.

At an alarming rate, girls are asked to share nude photos of themselves with boys–ones they know and ones they don’t. If a girl refuses, she’s often met with some threat of nasty rumors being spread or something of the sort. Also, girls are cyberbullied more often than boys. This is uncomfortable information for any parent of a daughter to hear.
Much of this can be linked back to parents either not understanding technology or not making an effort to explain the dangers and purpose of the technology they hand their children. These are powerful devices we’re handing our children and the consequences can be dire–it’s not unusual to speak to girls in residential treatment that have an unhealthy relationship with social media. Nancy Jo Sales, author of “American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers,” explains:

“It’s [smartphones] a powerful tool. A friend of mine who’s a parent described it as, you know, what we’re doing is, like, we’re giving kids cars and not really thinking about what’s going to happen once they start driving away in the car.”

In an NPR interview, Sales discussed the case of a girl getting cyberbullied and her parents having no idea it was happening until she tried to take her own life. This was largely due to her parents not being involved in her online use or watching for signs of distress. Now the girl has improved greatly and her family is much more involved–but this situation can be avoided by being more aware as parents.

Residential treatment doesn’t just help your daughter form healthier relationships with people and technology–it also helps parents develop the knowledge and skills to identify when their child is struggling.

Asheville Academy offers residential treatment for girls

Asheville Academy offers residential treatment in a therapeutic boarding school setting for young girls, ages 10-14, struggling with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other behavioral or emotional issues.

For more information about how Asheville Academy can help your daughter, call 800-264-8709 today.