Social media and video games can be a healthy outlet for adolescents who are exploring their creativity and connecting with friends, but recent research suggests that too much screen time is a growing public health concern that is harmful to teens and young adults.
Research suggests that social media and technology are not just prevalent but at times dangerous components of teens’ lives:
Most teens use social media.
Some teens are losing sleep due to their use of social media and video games.
Experts have found a correlation between social media use and depression in teens.
The World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the American Psychiatric Association (APA) have identified gaming disorder as a behavioral health concern.
Playing violent video games has the potential to lead to increased aggression in young people.
With the increased use of social media in the last decade (2010-now) has come a 151% increase in suicide for girls ages 10-14 and an 189% increase for non-fatal self harm episodes in girls ages 10-14.
The increased use of social media has correlated with a 70% increase in suicide for girls ages 15-19 and a 62% increase in non-fatal self harm episodes for girls ages 15-19.
Adolescents dealing with screen addiction are more likely to have:
Interpersonal and anxiety issues
Health issues and depression
Multiple addictions, including pornography addiction
Strained family relationships
Issues with impulse control
Experience with stressful life events
Low self esteem
Similar to other addictions, these issues can be difficult to address alone. Sometimes, it’s helpful to seek outside support for your child’s dependency on technology. One question we at Blue Ridge frequently hear from parents is, “what do I do about my teen’s excessive use of screen time?” In addition to providing families with tools to help regulate this issue, Blue Ridge offers an integrated, personalized approach for each student that can address unhealthy social media and technology behaviors as well as symptoms of social media/technology addiction.
How outdoor therapeutic programming at Blue Ridge helps teens unplug:
Like nicotine or other addictive substances, you can minimize an individual’s dependence upon technology by distancing the user from access to their devices for an extended period of time. Wilderness therapy does this well- some students might not even see a phone during their entire stay. While the student is adjusting to life without technology, they are also doing so much more to reinforce neural pathways which may have atrophied over time.
Activities your child will participate in at Blue Ridge:
Therapy with a licensed therapist
Group meal time
*See our academics page for more information about course credits at Blue Ridge.
Our program provides teens and young adults the opportunity to return to their values and their present environment by removing the distractions of everyday life and providing ample opportunities to reset.
Fewer Distractions and Better Sleep
Days in the wilderness are highly structured- whether it’s personal time, cooking a group meal, hiking, or participating in therapeutic groups. At the end of these days, students crawl into their sleeping bags and have plenty of time to rest before the next day. Often, teens (and field staff) enjoy better, more consistent sleep at Blue Ridge than they would at home. In addition to a clean diet and proper hydration, there’s never any scrolling, texting or gaming before bed.
When students are removed from the distractions of technology and home life, they suddenly have the opportunity to reexamine their values and figure out what really matters to them. Time at Blue Ridge opens up space for students to thrive by focusing on their emotions, family relationships, school work and most importantly, their health.
Outdoor therapeutic programming is often a surefire way to distance clients from the grips of addiction, which is likely to become worse if left untreated. If your child is exhibiting symptoms of social media, gaming or technology addiction, contact a professional immediately. If you are interested in seeking outside help with your teen or young adult’s screen use, anxiety, depression, or more, reach out to Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness’s admissions team today at (888) 914-1050.