HOUSTON – How often are you on your phone? Screen times are up for many of us and people younger and younger are getting hooked and dependent on devices to the point some people are addicted.
Brittni Schroeder is the mother of two: a 16-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter.
“I love her enough; it’s ok she’s mad at me,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder is elaborating on her daughter’s dependence on social media that she calls an addiction.
“Oh yeah, 100%. She became so obsessed with social media, talking to her friends, she wasn’t even sleeping. We would go to bed, it would be 1 a.m. and she was sneaking in trying to get her phone or computer,” explained Schroeder, who said the addiction has caused issues within their family. “You can totally see a change in her personality and attitude.”
Schroeder says this addiction was building for almost two years, when she allowed her child to use her phone to access social media.
“Then we ended up getting her a phone so we could get ahold of her and so we let her have it and very quickly we were like, ‘Nope, you cannot have this on your phone,’ and that didn’t stop her. I would put screen time on, I would put all these restrictions on. I felt like she always found a way around it. It was never-ending. Just always trying to get on social media,” said Schroeder.
The mom of two turned to licensed professional counselor and author Tessa Stuckey.
“What I have seen in my practice working with families, just how much it has affected mental health, family life, relationships with others,” Stuckey said. “What I really want to stress the most is that we’re not dealing with as many mental illness issues as mental health issues. It is affecting every kid and teenager who has it, and honestly, every adult too. Nobody is immune to the negative effects of social media. My biggest advice: no matter how old your child is, is to allow the struggle, allow boredom, allow for your kid to figure out what to do with their time, without TikTok or SnapChat, force them to find friends to meet up with face to face, that is really helpful.”
Stuckey adds, parents should listen to their children, provide an ear and suggest lifestyle changes, not just for them, but changes members of the entire family can obey. She said changes such as screen limits, restricts and curfews can also be helpful, along with making a list of fun activities and relaxing activities to do without phones.