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Has the pandemic led to teens becoming dependent on social media?

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 11:26 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - As the pandemic forced us to socially distance ourselves from others, social media has played a role in providing connections with people.

For some teens and adolescents, their need to use their social media platforms constantly has lingered.

If you ask a teen how many social media apps do they have on their phone right now, the answer will sound similar to these.

“TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook,” said Tobias Brown.

Tobias Brown shows how he uses Tik Tok
Tobias Brown shows how he uses Tik Tok(WALB)
Zion Heard shows Tik Tok video of herself
Zion Heard shows Tik Tok video of herself(WALB)

“TikTok, Instagram and Twitter,” said Zion Heard.

Dougherty Comprehensive High School students Brown and Heard said more often than not, you’ll find at least three social media apps in constant rotation.

Since the pandemic started, the amount of time spent on these apps has increased significantly.

“When the pandemic hit, I stayed on social media. We had no school. School, was canceled. So I’d wake up in the morning, get on Facebook, get on Instagram, go to sleep at night. Make sure, I have to check everything to make sure I don’t have any notifications before I go to sleep,” described Brown.

It became a cycle, and in some ways, an escape from reality.

“I wasn’t able to see my friends, wasn’t able to see family, people were dying. I needed a laugh and TikTok was that for me, Instagram was that for me, Twitter was that for me, they were an outlet for us to be free from the bounds of our four walls,” explained Heard.

So, with the increased use of these apps, Child and Adolescent Therapist Suzanna Warbington said there’s a harsh reality.

“Social media is not going to go away,” said Warbington.

However, there are some things you can do to manage your child’s social media in a healthy way.

“So, maybe it’s as simple as putting our phones away and having a meal together, just for 10, 15 minutes without a distraction. And then also allowing children and teens to earn that phone time. So maybe they’re allowed to be on their phones several times a day and they can earn some extra time after they’ve spent time with the family, or maybe they’ve done some chores. Maybe they’ve gone outside and done some exercise. But definitely, some of those small steps might improve the overall effect of being on social media so often,” suggested Warbington.

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