KGUN 9NewsTeen Addictions


Is your teen addicted to social media? Here are the signs experts say you should look for

Posted at 6:57 AM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2020-02-05 14:11:17-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - If you see a teen around town, chances are you're probably seeing a cell phone in their hand.

"I certainly think that dedicated attachment to devices has only gotten more and more, I would use the word compulsive," said Diane Ryan, the Director for Outpatient Services at Sonora Behavioral Health, "the teens that I know are pretty attached to their devices."

Ryan said over the years she's seen the relationship between teens, cell phones, and social media change quickly.

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"I don't think there are many teens that can function without it," Ryan said.

When it comes to social media platforms, Ryan said it's Instagram she hears most about from the teens she sees and talks to.

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"There's FOMO, people talk about FOMO, fear of missing out. That's something that's really key, when you have so many pictures and everybody's life is on display for everyone to see, there's a tendency to think, this is what my life should look like," Ryan said.

A survey conducted in 2018 by the Pew Research Center revealed that while 72 percent of teen said they use Instagram, it was Youtube that came out on top as the most popular with 85 percent of teens saying they use the social media site.

Regardless of the social media platform or app teens are using, Ryan said parents should be wary about when they start allowing their teen or teens to use popular platforms.

"I would say that the junior high ages, 12, 13, 14, as puberty sort of kicks in, those are really vulnerable ages," Ryan added.

Ryan continued on to add if parents choose to allow their teens to use social media platforms, keeping an eye on them isn't something she said parents should worry about or shy away from.

"I think it's perfectly appropriate for parents to monitor what their kids are doing online," she said.

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Ryan added moving forward she believes the key to making sure teens stay safe on social media is staying vigilant.

"I just think that it's really important that we continue to do research and pay attention to what's happening because there may be ways that we haven't developed of being able to gate keep some of the more harmful effects of internet use because our phones are here to stay, they are not going away," she said.