Overcoming Digital Device Addiction

Fill out this form to receive free tips each week

Note: Many of our 400+ resources now require a low-cost membership to help us deliver great research and expert safety guides. Become a member today, login here, or have your district request a partnership to make these resources free for your community.

Overcoming Digital Device Addiction

December 12, 2016

Become a member or log in to view this course

District Admins and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to share our resources with your community.

Become a member or log in to view this course

Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Green Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
We believe this app is a STARTING POINT for your student, but that you must monitor your student on every app they are on. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Gray Zone

Parents and Teachers: Please note this app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Red Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone. We believe this app is not safe for students to use without adult supervision. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Dangerous Social media challenges

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge. Knowing about social media challenges before your teen does can help you keep them safe before an incident occurs. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Table of Contents

, you're logged in! Thank you for your support. Enjoy your membership resources and videos.
Overcoming Digital Device Addiction an Expert Guest Blog SmartSocial.com

You cannot approach overcoming digital device addiction by trying to make it all go away. It’s a part of our society. It’s a part of the world that we live in. It’s a big part of how kids are growing up and so trying to swear it off and saying that it’s evil and we are going to make it disappear...is not effective.

What is social media addiction?

Find ways to help students manage their time on social media.

Social media includes Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and any other platform where individuals connect online socially. Social networking accounts for 28% of all media time spent online and so we need to stop pretending that this isn’t going on and instead find ways to help students manage their time on social media.

We want to focus on the relationship that our students and our teenagers have with social media and making sure that that relationship is healthy. We want to teach our kids how to use the digital world in a healthy way instead of using these tools as a way to “check out” from the daily activities of life as opposed to participating fully in life.

Negative impacts of device addiction

The problem that we see with teenagers is social anxiety when their primary means of communicating with the world is online.

One of the first problems that we see is that teens have the ability to create a false image and persona. If the teen doesn’t have the self-confidence, tools and the ability to interact with the world in a healthy way, social media gives them a great outlet and a great avenue to give them a completely new image and persona to deal with the world. They are not forced to become “okay” with who they are and learn how to communicate with other people. This also has an impact on the way that teens look at themselves now that they compare themselves on a global scale with everyone around them. Teenage girls used to compare themselves to their friend groups at school, but now they compare themselves to women around the world using photo editing software and this negatively impacts their self-esteem and self-image.

One thing we see a lot of is, teenagers do not have a clear idea of what is legal or illegal, what is right and what is wrong, what we are okay with and what we stand for. Teenagers are heavily influenced by what is around them. A big part of their moral compass and what they find acceptable on a daily basis comes from what their peers are doing. Outlandish behavior on social media gets better responses than behavior such as studying, so this outlandish behavior becomes normalized. Kids see a lot of other teenagers posting inappropriate things and so this becomes normalized.

The problem that we see with teenagers is social anxiety when their primary means of communicating with the world is through a screen and online. They are not developing those skills to go out into the world and communicate by meeting other people, talking to other people, looking people in the eyes, and shaking their hands. It also makes everyday social situations uncomfortable and there is this expectation sometimes that things may be recorded or conversations may be posted online so teens are uncomfortable interacting with others.

How to overcome device addiction

Disconnecting and reconnecting is the first step to helping our teenagers with digital device addiction.

Disconnecting and reconnecting is the first step to helping our teenagers with digital device addiction. Disconnecting from our virtual realities; meaning that we do not live exclusively in these worlds and are able to disconnect from the virtual space. We also want to teach teenagers how to have family communication and interaction at home that involves face-to-face conversations then kids are able to develop the skills to have in-person interactions.

Help teens find their strengths

What we see with people who have unhealthy addictions with social media is the need to “check out” and compulsive behavior. With addicts, it’s not a simple “check out” because something bad happened during the day, it’s a “check out” that they need on a regular basis because of everyday living. What we try to do is address the underlying issue. With teenagers, in particular, a lot of it has to do with self-esteem. When you start helping teenagers see their value interpersonally with their peers and in their family, when you start helping them to see their strengths, it can go a long way in dealing with this issue where they feel like they have to “check out” from life.

Uncover, discover, and discard

We have a saying with recovery that is: uncover, discover, and discard. So first it’s about figuring out what things you are struggling with. What are the stories that you are telling yourself and what are the ways that you put yourself down? Then you look at that stuff and figure out why you feel that way and then you discard it. Let it go and replace it with something positive. Once teenagers start doing this, they don’t get that same rush from an Instagram like on a photo because they have more self-esteem and they don’t need that negative self-validation as much.

About our guest blogger:

Headshot of Howard Barker
Howard Barker

Howard Barker is a Community Liaison at Clear Recovery Center, a structured recovery community helping young men transform their lives in California.

This post is an excerpt from the 2017 Digital Citizenship Conference in Los Angeles. The conference was a rich environment for educators, law enforcement officers, and parents to openly discuss issues and solutions for helping students shine in the digital world.

Logged in and still not seeing content? This course may not be part of your membership plan. Click here to join.

Share Your Thoughts With Our Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Join Our Next LIVE Events

Free Parent & Teacher Online Zoom Event!

Learn 25+ Dangers On TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Fortnite, Netflix, YouTube & More (Register Here)

Superintendents, Directors, & Principals!

Learn The Social Media Dangers You Need to Know To Keep Students Safe in 2022 (Register Here)

Become a Very Informed Parent (VIP) to get our social media suggestions in your email every Tuesday & Thursday.
Dotted arrow to right
Learn about our
"Very Informed Parent" 
VIP Program
Right arrow
Josh Ochs headshot Round
Schools & Districts: Partner with us to protect your community online

Our remote presentations (and website) teaches over a million students each year how to shine online. We teach students how their accounts can be used to create a portfolio of positive accomplishments that impress colleges and employers.

Partner with SmartSocial.com
Right arrow
SmartSocial podcast logo
Join Our Smart Social Podcast each week on iTunes

With over 240 episodes, Josh Ochs interviews psychologists, therapists, counselors, teachers, and parents while showing you how to navigate social media to someday shine online.

Listen on:

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Youtube
Spotify

Read More From Smart Social:

Read More Posts On Our Blog
Right arrow

Free Parent Night: 25+ Dangers On
TikTok,  Snapchat, Instagram, Fortnite, Netflix, YouTube & More (Multiple Dates).

Join Josh for a presentation that will teach you the hidden safety features of TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Netflix, Discord, Fortnite, Twitch & more! (Register Here)

Register For Our Free Parent Event
Right arrow
Parent Event: 25+ Dangers on TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Fornite, Netflix & YouTube by Josh Ochs SmartSocial.com