Problematic Social Media Use

What is Problematic Interactive Media Use (PIMU)?

Media and technology are everywhere in our lives. Kids use technology for homework, to keep in touch with parents, and to keep themselves entertained. When casual media use excessive, it may be a sign of an underlying problem. Children often use media to escape their problems or improve their mood, so it if you notice that your child is more time online, it is time to ask why.

The definition of PIMU is based on the symptoms that appear when media is overused. When media, such as the internet, social media, mobile apps, video games, music, TV, and movies, are overused it can cause difficulties in your child’s life. PIMU can occur with excessive video gaming, social media use, watching pornography or excessive information seeking.

How do I know if my child has a problem with interactive media use?

Problematic interactive media use is associated with decreased school performance, poor sleep, weight gain and difficulty in relationships with family or friends. There are a couple of questions to ask about your child’s relationship with electronics

  • Does your child become moody, irritable, or depressed when you have to stop their media use?
  • Is your child constantly thinking about a certain type of media?
  • Does your child spend more and more time with media in order to feel satisfied?
  • Has your child tried to cut back on their media use, and found that they were unable to?
  • Do your child end up using media for longer periods than they intend to?
  • Has media use gotten in the way of school, sleep friends, or  family?
  • Has your child every lied to you or another adult about how much time they spend using media?
  • Does your child use media to escape problems?

If you answered yes to two or more of the above questions, it maybe useful to reflect on your child’s social media use.

What are the treatment options for  PIMU?

Problematic interactive media use(PIMU) is often found in kids struggling with Depression, Anxiety and Attention-Deficient Hyperactive Disorder.  A diagnostic evaluation can be helpful in identifying the reasons underlying PIMU and identifying individualized strategies to help your child.

Behavioral strategies for helping your child will include designating screen-free zones in your home. Removing electronic from certain rooms can be helpful for your child. Additionally, it will be important to setup screen-free times in your home. Example of screen-free times includes dinner with family or turning off electronics 1 hour before bed. It will be important to  help your child balance online and offline activity. Having your child participate in offline entertainment and hobbies can be helpful in treating PIMU.  Lastly make sure your child is getting enough sleep(8-9 hours) and exercise(60 minutes a day).

For helping your child with problematic interactive media use make an appointment by calling us at 609-601-4161