So, remember that 19 year old I wrote about a few weeks ago? The one who gets her friends to pile their phones on the table when they eat together so that no one looks at their phone during the meal? Well, she has more ideas.
This week she told me that she had an exam that she was worried about. So what did she do? She decided to analyze her own social media use.
She looked at her phone to see what apps she spends the most time on – and found out that by far, she looks at TikTok the most. Very scientific approach, right?
So she deleted TikTok for two days prior to the exam so that she would get those hours back – and use them for studying.
Self control being what it is, she knew she could not stop herself from looking at Tiiktok if it was still on her phone.
Teens of all ages as well as young adults have told me that they simply cannot stop themselves from checking social media – sometimes as much as every 2 or 3 minutes.
Young teens have complained to me that they just don’t know what to do. They know they shouldn’t do this – but they find themselves doing it anyway. And for some highly motivated kids, this is distressing – they want to do well at school and they know their use of their phones is getting in the way. One young teen boy cried in my office as he told me how guilty he felt – he knew he should be studying more, reading more and doing other things that were better uses of his time but Youtube was sucking him in every day after school and he just couldn’t stop.
People have compared social media use—as well as computer gaming, Youtube and other computer activities— to an addiction. And I tend to agree. The in-the-moment pleasure derived from doing these things, the immediate surge of gratification gained from looking at these sites is so powerful. Reading and studying? They don’t stand a chance.
So, parents, you are in a difficult spot. Recommending that kids delete their apps, even temporarily, will be met with protest and push back. What are you to do?
Maybe just leave your computer open to this post for a while and let you kids walk by and see it for themselves…..
Or talk with your kids about the ideas here, just to see what they think.