A CNN study called #Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens, involving 200 teens and their social media pages, is an eye-opening study on how today’s digital age is affecting our children. The study revealed that some teens check their social media pages as much as 100 times a day- sometimes more.
Why? Because their self-worth is defined by what occurs online. 61 percent of teens in the study said they check so often to see if what they post is getting comments and likes. 36 percent want to see if their friends are participating in activities or conversations without them.
The ease of which today’s teens can access almost anything online and explore the internet at any time via their own smartphones, computers and laptops can be detrimental to their mental health, especially when it comes to their self-worth, anxiety and depression.
The Sexual Side of Teen Internet Use
These teens aren’t just sharing and receiving innocent pictures and conversations, either. In the study, experts found that 15 percent of the teens were receiving inappropriate photos from others. Some are also sharing inappropriate photos that are sexual in nature of others, like ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends. This practice is known as ‘exposing.’
In addition to receiving and sharing these types of pictures, teens also have easy access to internet pornography. Many pop-ups and emails are designed to attract teenagers, who are very vulnerable to them. Impressionable teens who view pornographic material often have convoluted views of what normal, healthy sexual behavior is.
Internet Addiction and Teens
Advances in technology have increased the number of internet addiction among teens as well. According to Simon Sinek, a motivational speaker and marketing consultant, engagement with social media and cell phones releases a chemical in their brains called dopamine. When they get a text or get a like on their Facebook post, the dopamine released makes them feel good.
This makes them want to make it happen again. And again. And again.
Internet addiction is often considered a behavioral disorder, and it affects almost every area of a teen’s life. Teens with internet addictions often have poorly controlled behaviors or obsessions with internet use. They have a compulsive need to use the internet, so much so that they ignore other areas of their life to do it.
According to a 2014 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI,) approximately 6 percent of teen internet users suffer from internet addiction. Many of these teens also suffer from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and social isolation. The internet often acts as an escape route for teens with social anxiety who struggle to make friends in traditional social situations.
How Greenbrier can Help With Internet Addiction
At Greenbrier Academy for Girls, we treat internet addiction like any other addiction our students might have. Your daughter will be provided addiction recovery therapy and one-on-one therapy to help her understand the reasons behind her addiction.
While computers are used for school purposes, faculty members monitor their use closely while students are on them. Each computer at our boarding school is password protected as well to prevent unauthorized use. In addition to learning how to use new technology, students are shown how to use the internet in a safe way.
Troubled teens that come to Greenbrier suffer from a number of issues, including depression, anxiety and even internet addiction. Our trained professionals can help your daughter understand her addiction better and learn how to create a healthier future for herself.