The misuse and social media addictions among young people, can promote severe problems in their lives, so watch their routines against this type of virtual socialization is important.
Juveniles commit crimes without knowing it and, what is worse; they do not know how to confront them when they are witnesses or victims. This, along with the time they spend in front of a connected mobile or computer, can also lead to problems such as addiction to social networks.
Social Media Addictions
Some data on the use of social networks
The use of social networks according to INTECO (2011) has increased in Spain to reach 72.3%, this being the number of habitual users of the year 2010. To this data must be added another that ensures that 88.5% teenagers Internet users, ages 16 to 24, participate in social networks.
As can be seen, social networks are highly frequented by adolescents since 75.3% are connected very frequently and, if we count those that do occasionally, we would have a percentage of 90% (Garcia Jimenez, Lopez de Ayala -Lopez, & Catalina-Garcia, 2013).
Do young or young people really know about privacy on the internet? Here are some facts from an EU Kids online project:
- They only know how to change their privacy settings on social networks by 55%.
- Minors or young people in Spain who use social networks and also publish content and personal information (address or telephone number) is 9%.
- Seventy-one percent of the parents have published images of their children under two years old, 24% of their newborn children and 24%, prenatal ultrasounds.
According to the studies presented in the article by Carbon ell et al. (2012), young Spaniards have problems with the use of the internet, which is usually associated with the uses they give to communicate.
According to Estevez et al. (2009), it is very important for young adolescents to establish new relationships. In addition, they need to feel belonging to a group, so the Internet is considered a quick channel to achieve the above.
Have you stopped to think if the data exposed above refer to a good use of social networks? Do you have the privacy of your account set up? Do you upload photos of children?
Not having knowledge about how to configure privacy, coupled with uploading photos compulsively, is something that affects us negatively. This ignorance can lead to serious problems such as cyber bullying, grooming, sexing or cyber-addiction.
The cyber bullying or bullying in networks, according to Colas (2015) “increasingly occurs at an earlier age, since children are victims of abusive physical or verbal behavior by their classmates, causing them bodily harm or psychic, in many cases irreparable “.
Another risk for young people is grooming, in which an adult pretends to be a minor in social networks and through deception he engages with a clear objective, abuse or sexual assault.
In turn, the sexing consists of sending a network of intimate photos, whether erotic or pornographic, to a friend or from your closest environment.
Once we have explained almost all the possible threats that may be suffered by minors, we will focus on addiction to social networks or the internet, which is a type of cyber – addiction.
Alonso-Fernandez (2003) defines addiction as “a series of impulsive behaviors, systematic and uncontrollable, elaborated on an existential platform dominated by the relation of chemical or social object delivery.”
So, a person addicted to social networks would be that which compulsively uses the social media in excess. For example, constantly looking at status updates, profiles of your friends or uploading photos himself for hours and hours.
Some signs that may indicate that we have a problem with social networks according to Wilson (2015) are:
- Spend more than one hour a day on social networks. Normally it would be appropriate not to spend more than half an hour a day.
- Look at Face book when possible. Some people leave the program open while they work. Others instead use the App while they are eating with their friends.
- Share too much content. Share too much personal information like photos or videos with Face book or other social networks. This is usually done to obtain the approval or recognition of their peers.
- Listen to people around you spend too much time connected to social networks.
- Find that this problem begins to interfere with your work, school or social life.
- Not being able to reduce the time you spend on social networks, even if you try.
- Obsessive thoughts about your “friends” on Face book or aspects of social life on the internet. For example, some people spend a lot of time deciding what message to share, how to update their page, or how to respond to their Face book friends. Another example is the time and energy expense of thinking about what to share or writing in the state update. Afterwards, think anxiously what they will respond or say my “friends” of that state or in that state.
- Look at the Face book of your friends in a competitive sense. There is a competition for adding friends that can lead to increased tensions related to this social network, resulting in worse results than addiction.
- As an escape mode. There are people who use social networks to avoid their problems in real life. That is, when you feel down, you usually connect to face book or other social networks to feel better.
- Loss of sleep by these connected to social networks. If the social networks interfere in your day to day that is to say in your work or studies is worrisome. However, it is even more so when it also affects your rest.
Why do teens use social media?
Internet can be very interesting for young people because with a single click we can have an immediate response. In addition, from this quick response there is also interactivity and many windows with activities.
At ages like childhood and adolescence, it is very important to feel accepted by others and this can increase or decrease a child’s self-esteem.
In this case, adolescents use social networks because of the popularity effect they produce. In addition, thanks to this use can see if they are really popular and accepted by the number of friends who follow.
Recommendations for parents and educators
Although teens teach parents how to use the new technologies and the Internet, it is parents who have to educate their children about the good use of these devices and tools. According to Ramón-Cortés (2010) both parents and educators should:
- Talk to the children to make a schedule of use of the computer or mobile. This can be a great idea since most of the young people do not have a schedule agreed with the parents and they use the computer throughout the day without having done the homework.
- Carry out activities with the child that fosters relationships with other people. In many cases, young people spend many hours in front of computers. Therefore, it is advisable to do activities with other people.
- Use excellent communication at home based on dialogue. A quality communication with your children will help you in case you have problems such as those mentioned above, ask for help immediately.
- Carry out outdoor activities in which group work is encouraged. Dedicating several days a week to some outdoor activity outdoors prevents the child is connected to the internet or spend many hours on the network.
In addition to all of the above, according to Mayor Gas (2009) should be limited Internet connections as well as locate computers in places transited indoors.
Although internet addiction is an issue that should concern us today, we cannot ignore that it may be a manifestation secondary to another addiction or other psychological problems (Echeburúa, Bravo de Medina and Aizpiri, 2005, 2007).
The main element of internet addiction is that young people spend a lot of time in front of the computer as a way to escape reality to feel better about them. This excessive use of social networks can cause them very negative effects like losses in social skills or even relational illiteracy.
It is important that both parents and educators know how to handle the new technologies and know the risks that exist in them and their misuse for the child. Talking in schools to raise awareness of minors would be a good method of prevention.