When you hear the words “social media” within the context of teen usage, what comes to your mind? Many parents may think of the large amount of time their child spends on social media or the negative effects of internet and social media usage, such as self-isolation or cyberbullying. However, there is also much good to be found on social media platforms, including recovery support.
Using Social Media to Stay Connected
Adolescents stay connected with friends through social media platforms. They use apps like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, Discord, and Facebook to keep up with friends individually and in groups. Because they are already accustomed to staying connected through these platforms, why not also have them stay connected to their new sober friends and recovery groups in the same way?
Social media apps are a great way to interact with friends from treatment, friends from meetings, friends from support groups, sponsors, and others in their support networks. If necessary, parents can monitor communications on their child’s phones or other devices. Adolescents can subscribe to read-only accounts if that is preferred to access inspiration and information, or they can interact with others through various applications.
Alumni Groups on Social Media Platforms
After treatment, teens can stay connected with their treatment facilities and their peers with alumni groups through many avenues, including social media platforms. These groups can be used to post information and meeting times, connect with one another via group chats, or for video chats and online meetings. Social media is an easy way for alumni groups to get the word out about events and meetings and for alumni to stay connected with one another.
Social media is also a great resource for posting inspirational quotes or relapse prevention tips. Alumni groups may also post local resources for recovery, including new meetings, support groups, classes, employment opportunities, activities, and more. While many teens are accessing the latest trends in music, fashion, or gaming, your teen might be accessing regular information from their alumni group to help them with their recovery process.
Reaching Out for Help Online
There are many resources available online for recovery support. When your teen is not able to access support in person, social media can offer strength both daily and in moments of crisis. Through social media, your child can find inspiration, locate meetings online or in person, or be involved in online communities that offer support and strength to one another. They can reach out to individuals, groups, communities, or facilities for help when they are struggling.
Having access to social media in recovery is like having an extra worldwide support network in their pocket at all times. When a teen in recovery experiences a trigger or has a craving, and they do not have anyone in real life that is available to help them, they can reach out through social media and find someone to help them through the moment. Likewise, they can also offer support to their peers online through social media.
Accessing Help Through Social Media
Teens can access help in various ways online. They might reach out through specific groups on Discord or Facebook that are specific to a facility or recovery group. These groups may have messaging, calling, and video chat features that allow your teen to connect with people who can offer specific help to your adolescent and their situation.
Your teen may also follow accounts on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or other apps that offer general information and advice for those in recovery, such as relapse prevention and coping techniques that could help them in a crisis situation, or stories from others who have been in similar situations that could help inspire them to get through a tough moment. The daily inspiration and information available through social media can also help serve as a preventative resource to help strengthen your child by building knowledge and resilience through education and consistency.
Empowering Teens Through Social Media
While many parents spend a lot of time trying to distract their children from social media use, you can also empower your child and their recovery by encouraging them to use social media to help them in both crisis and daily situations. When there are concerns about self-harm, about who they are interacting with, or whether or not they are actually utilizing social media for recovery purposes, parents can monitor and/or limit their child’s devices and social media usage. However, wherever possible, allowing your teen to access social media for their recovery can offer significant strength and support for your teen in their recovery process.
While social media can become a negative influence when overused or used for the wrong purposes, it can also empower your teen in addiction recovery. Being able to stay connected and access help online, whether it be daily or in crisis situations, can be an additional source of support for your teen. At Sustain Recovery, we understand the importance of discipline when it comes to social media and the use of devices, but we also understand that there are important resources and tools that can be accessed online. Our extended residential program in Irvine, California, teaches adolescents responsibility and accountability so they can use tools such as social media to help them in their recovery process. We connect them with support and resources to help them after treatment. Call Sustain today at (949) 407-9052 to find out if our program is right for your family.