Teenagers: how to manage social networks?

We all know that screens quickly capture attention and can addict us. Social networks are an important part of it (Instragram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, …).

Today, there are ways to control the time spent on each application. If we take a closer look, the total time can become frightening.

Many controversies have made the news, particularly the lawsuit brought against Facebook for reselling personal data.

Despite everything, these social networks meet our modern needs for sharing and searching information. They quickly became essential to our new mode of communication. For some people, this has become a compulsive need, for others a commercial or social necessity. The most worrying thing remains for those under 18 years of age who have not necessarily understood the irreversible consequences of disclosing themselves on social networks.

Why do you spend all this time reading, publishing information, keeping an eye on your friends’ accounts and even those of complete strangers ?

The need to check the number of new followers, likes and comments on our posts allows us to keep a certain standing on the web to maintain the interest of our subscribers.

Basically, we are looking for a relationship with the other, a form of recognition. However, this need for contact with others has existed since the dawn of time. It should be noted that these excessive behaviours do not only concern adolescents but also adults.

Adolescents find an identity landmark by actively using social networks, they simply need to be loved and recognized in their community.

Some studies talk about addiction and negative effects in adolescents such as depression, lack of good communication and jealousy. Indeed, seeing “perfect” lives scrolling on a screen can trigger feelings of isolation or jealousy that can lead to depressive phases. Some teenagers may even turn away from their studies.

There is still the problem of communication. Teens used to “hidden” communication behind a screen can lose the “real” connection with people in real life. Comfortable in virtual communication; this can make an introverted teenager insecure in “real” social interactions, it could even affect his or her future career prospects because he or she will have difficulty communicating in a company.

Here are some tips to behave reasonably on social networks:

1.         Keep your phone quiet and out of sight.  

Forget about it and do other activities without mechanically looking at the screen every ten minutes. Find some brain time available for you. By dropping it out of your sight, there will be less temptation to check your messages. You can then focus on new tasks.

2.         Check and manage your time “really” spent on social networks.

You will be able to set goals and regain power over your life by gradually reducing your connection time. And “be crazy”, try regularly to have a day without a phone or connection. You will be surprised to see how much time is spent on new activities !

3.         Sleep away from your phone. 

The quality of sleep is essential for concentration, especially in children and adolescents. Notifications that are active at night cause microwaves. By using your phone as an alarm clock, you will keep it close to your bed, which will encourage you to check your messages when you get up instead of waking up quietly.

4.         Have a family conversation.

Of course, you have to live with the times. However, it is important to keep control over your life and to support the youngest to control their time. It is precisely time to allow children and teenagers to keep a critical eye on their screen consumption and find ways to prevent them from drowning in it. For this reason, family dialogue is a rule to be established in order to set screen time limits to be respected and teach our children to focus on priorities.

Since 2012, Benk has been working with families on screen times to fight school dropouts and concentration disorders.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about using social networks at info@benk.ch.