4 Ways Social Media Might Harm Your Teen’s Recovery

social media might harm teen recovery

Social Media: Is it Worth the Risks for Teens in Recovery?

Social media has proven to be an amazing tool, capable of rallying the masses and inciting social change. But in spite of all of social media’s positive attributes, it can also be harmful and people recovering from addiction might be in the worst danger.

Obviously, social media has great positive and negative potential, but the relationship between the two can be unpredictable. For a teen in recovery, social media can be more like a social minefield that could lead to unnecessary stress, anxiety, and even relapse.

Here are four ways social media might be dangerous for your recovering teenager:

  1. 4 Ways Social Media May Harm Your Teen's RecoveryCauses Some to Base Sense of Self-Worth on Other’s Opinions

    • The currencies of social media are the “like” and “favorite.” It’s easy for teens to get caught up in what other people think of them on social media, causing even the most stable individuals to spend an inordinate amount of time grooming their social media profiles. For a person in recovery, giving this much power to other people takes away the ability to derive self-worth from more sustainable and reliable sources.
  2. Feeds Into Addictive Tendencies

    • Social media clearly fuels addictive tendencies. Some psychologists have gone so far to say people can actually become addicted to social media itself. Whether or not that’s the case, it’s easy to see the similarities between an addict taking a “quick hit” and a social media user compulsively checking his or her Facebook page or Twitter profile.
  3. Leads to Unbalanced Lifestyle

    • When too much time and energy are spent on social media, there is less left to spend on investing in the relationships around us, getting exercise, fulfilling our responsibilities, and generally living a healthy and balanced life. Checking out from the world around you and checking into social media can lead to an unbalanced relationship between thoughts and behaviors.
  4. Puts Kids Around Peers who are Using Drugs

    • The internet can lead teens to believe more of their peers use drugs and alcohol than is actually the case. Studies have shown that exposure to peer substance abuse leads to a greater likelihood of a teen using drugs or alcohol. For teens in recovery, this level of peer pressure may provoke relapse.

However, experts also warn parents to not be Puritanical about their children’s social media use. Social media has become such a powerful force in culture that banning your loved one from it may do more harm than good. Instead, set boundaries and limits for your loved ones and make sure they are living balanced lives in other ways.

You can tell your children are living a balanced lifestyle outside social media if they:

  • Maintain friendships in real life
  • Get up from the computer for exercise or other activity
  • Have hobbies centered around things other than the internet

If a loved one is struggling with addiction and substance abuse, Banyan Treatment Center can help get his or her life back on track. The sooner your teen can get into treatment, the sooner he or she can get started living a healthy and normal life.

Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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