Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Identifying Social media addiction

Social media addiction has become a common and raging psychological disorder with adolescents, young adults and adults all coming in its grip.

It is important to understand what kind of social media behavior will qualify as an "addiction".  To make it easy let us consider the term "Psychological dependence". Whenever we become "dependent" on any object or behavior and without which we experience distress then it can be considered as addiction.

I am seeing a lot of such cases in my clinic nowadays where children as young as 11 years old are getting hooked to sites like Instagram, online games like PUBG, Fortnite , Facebook, Snapchat, tik tok etc.

The children brought to my clinic have lost interest in studies, friends, play, and all other activities.
🔻They are using screen for as long as 4 to 16 hrs a day.
🔻They just want to be left alone with their phones.
🔻Any attempt to talk to them or scold them is met with stiff resistance and aggression.
🔻They are up in bed for hours till early morning and as a result have to skip school.

They do not show any motivation to modify their behaviour and are reluctant and hostile when brought to the clinic.

This is because it is too late before the parents take this action. It would be helpful if parents know the telltale signs of whether the child is slipping into dependance and take an early action.

The important things to look for could be :

1. Is your child having unlimited access to smartphone?

2. What is the total "screen time" of your child?

3. What are the other activities that your child participates in?

4. Are you aware what social media sites your child is visiting or using?

5. Are you aware of which online games is he playing?

6. Has your child's interest in his other activities reduced off late?

7. What is his sleeping pattern?

8. Do you notice any changes in his mood?

9. Is his academic performance deteriorating suddenly?

10. Does he become defensive , aggressive, or starts crying when you try to control his phone usage?

11. What is the level of his actual social interaction with his peers and family?

Answers to some of these questions should start you thinking on lines of seeking help.

The Psychological counseling for such addictions is a specialised treatment like any other addiction.

Some of the points which could help in dealing with these children could be :

1. Initially an attempt is made to engage the child in conversation.

2. A non judgemental attitude helps.

3. The child is not blamed or accused of his behaviours.

4. A confidentiality based rapport is established.

5. The child is helped to engage in conversations about his life and goals.

6. A discussion about his behaviours and it's consequences is then undertaken with the help of some Experiential games and activities.

These are a few points to start with.

Once the child's confidence is won only then discussion on modifying phone related behaviours are resorted to.

If introduced prematurely the session would end abruptly and therapy would backfire.


  1. It's a very informative one...the biggest problem of the youth.👍👍👍👍

  2. Ma'am it's very well written article. I am also seeing my daughter getting addicted to her phone. She is not on the extereme situation as I am able to read from article but always trying my level best to talk with her and try to be firm for her screen time and what she is watching. This article helped me more about the parameters as a parent I should check. Always look forward to enhance my knowledge from your articles. Thanks a lot.

  3. Very relevent in the current scenario as more and more cases are being reported. The article is helpful in identifying the symptoms and when to reach out for help. Helpful for professionals as well as parents.

  4. It's really very valueable blog ma'am. Its today's need to understand and follow it's in actual life . Thanks

  5. Relevant and informative article as ever. Looking forward to learning experiential activities that can help children, through your workshop.

  6. Very informative article ma'am!,

  7. The article is very interesting and informative , the need of the hour , we can't keep kids away from smartphones , we can't practically control the screen time used , this eventually leads to addiction , so how can we control the basic thing , the root cause , how to keep kids away from smartphones

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  9. Each point is important Ma'am. In my limited understanding of dealing with kids, confidentiality is ultra important as suggested by you for the conversation with them to be leading to
    desired results.

  10. Very meaningful and nicely articulated Ma'am

  11. Very aptly written ma'am. Most needed for parents in this era. Need of hour indeed.

  12. Very useful article for each parent. Parent should get involved with child's online activity and play role as mentor and guide to understand changes in behavior if any.

  13. As I read the article I felt it so relevant for myself and my family as screen addiction is indeed growing at a fast pace. Sometimes handling the spouse too regarding this issue becomes challenging. Socialising becomes uninteresting but I guess being non judgemental and nonblaming helps here too

  14. Informative. Good questioners to test weather children are addicted.

  15. Very informative blog ma'am .. thank you for making us understand the right approach..

  16. Internet is very important in today's timeline. But it is essential to understand the limit of using it as a boon. A little away beyond the limit line stands its addictive properties which slowly can engulf a persons existence as an entity.