One of the most important characteristics of a popular website online is its ability to “suck you in.” Facebook is an excellent example of this. Facebook is a social networking site that gives people of all ages a platform for communication, sharing and gaming. Facebook is a place where you can connect with friends from school, family members, people you have never met, and people that share a whole host of interests and hobbies with you. If you want to reconnect with people that you know or knew, or meet brand new friends, Facebook is the place.
Unfortunately, people can get sucked in a little too much, becoming addicted to a social networking platform. Young or old, addiction is possible and it is up to parents to keep their children’s use of Facebook and similar websites in check to prevent this type of addiction and misuse from occurring.
- Losing Sleep Over Facebook: If your teenager is using Facebook so much that he or she is losing sleep, then this is a serious red flag that something is amiss. You may notice that your teen is feeling sluggish, falling asleep in school or just seeming overall disinterested with life. If your teenaged son or daughter is spending so much time online and on Facebook that he or she is having difficulties getting enough sleep, then this is one of the biggest red flags that an addiction is forming. Losing sleep is really just going to be the beginning when your child becomes addicted to Facebook.
- Spending More Than a Couple Hours Logged into Facebook Daily: It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how much time is being spent online, but needing to spend more than an hour’s worth of time on a social networking site is definitely bordering on excessive. Take a look at how much time your child is spending on Facebook every day, and monitor it. If the amount is increasing over time, or is excessive in general, then it is going to be worthwhile to have numbers. Your child may not realize how much time he or she is spending on this social networking website.
- Your Teen is Becoming Obsessed with Connecting With Certain People Online: Reconnecting with friends and making new ones can definitely be a fun way to pass the time, but if your teen is becoming obsessed with meeting and connecting with people online, then his or her internet use may be bordering on addictive. If your teen is spending hours upon hours talking to people on Facebook, then this is definitely a behavior that is becoming increasingly detrimental to their well being, especially if they are shirking other responsibilities and duties like sleep and homework in favor of chatting online.
- Your Teen is Neglecting Work or School Responsibilities in Favor of Facebook Use: This is going to be especially serious if your child is logging onto Facebook from work or school rather than paying attention to what truly matters. This is often one of the first signs that something is wrong. It may begin with the teen only logging in for a few minutes during a restroom break or a break between classes, but unfortunately it is going to become more serious before it becomes better. If your child appears to be shirking any duties or responsibilities in favor of Facebook use, nip this in the bud as soon as you can before it really does turn into a more serious problem.
- Your Teen is Regularly Asking for “Just a Few More Minutes” or Outright Refusing to Log Off the Computer: You call your son or daughter to dinner, and get “Just a minute, mom!” in response. Only, your teen does not show up in a minute, or five, or even ten. Your child is completely engrossed in a Facebook chat, a game or some other distraction that is preventing family dinner from continuing. Once again, this is only the beginning. Unfortunately what happens is that one or two occurrences along this vein suddenly become a nightly fight to get your children to sit down to dinner. This is one of those gateway behaviors that is only going to become worse with time rather than better. If your teen is brushing off the real world in favor of text connections online on Facebook, then something is definitely amiss.
These are not the only signs that something is amiss, but they are a jumping off point. If at any point you feel that your teen’s use of Facebook or the Internet is becoming excessive, the best thing that you can do is sit down and have a talk with them. While excessive use of the Internet or Facebook itself is not a dangerous thing, if your child is favoring an Internet addiction over real life interactions, it can develop into something more serious with time.
As a parent, it is vitally essential that you be aware of how your teen is using the Internet so that you can keep him or her safe at all times.
Facebook addiction may not be like a substance abuse problem, but what it does is opens the door to bad behavior and bad judgment. If your teen child is favoring Facebook to real interactions or shirking responsibilities and expectations due to Internet usage, then what you need to do is to nip the problem in the bud before it becomes more serious.