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daughter addicted to facebook

(17 Posts)
yackityyak Mon 17-Mar-14 10:15:32

Since my dd (14) went on facebook about 6 months ago she has completely changed. She is on social media (or other phone-based pastimes) constantly and has given up many of the hobbies she use to have, whilst also losing interest in school-work (formerly quite highly achieving). She doesn't seem to find anything else interesting. We have tried limiting internet access but it leads to constant arguments and bad feeling. She has been self-harming for about 4 months and claims she can only deal with it if she's allowed to speak to other people on-line about it and becomes distraught if we don't give her internet access back. We end up relenting, allowing her back on for fear of making her worse and more likely to self-harm. Whilst we also feel there is some element on manipulation here in trying to get her own way, we feel we have been put in a position where we can't excersise normal parental discipline. I am very unhappy about her being so absorbed in the on-line world, and extremely worried about the unhealthy aspects of shutting helself in bedroom talking to depressed friends for hours on end.

Any help with this appreciated.

adeucalione Mon 17-Mar-14 11:12:14

Is she getting any support for the self harming? I don't agree with her self medication of unfettered internet access at all. I also don't think you should allow yourself to be manipulated in this way, or where will that end?

Do you know her passwords, or have an arrangement whereby you can check her phone/laptop regularly if worried?

She isn't self harming, dropping hobbies and losing interest at school because of Facebook, that's just a symptom.

yackityyak Mon 17-Mar-14 13:01:41

She has been referred to the adolescent mental health service but appt. hasn't come through yet (we were told 4 months wait!). I agree we shouldn't let ourselves be manipulated but it's such a difficult situation. If we have limited the internet access she has regularly come to us in a state saying she needs to talk to someone, and says we are "making it worse" if we don't give in to her. It could be manipulation,but it could be genuine, we don't know because she's stopped talking to us about anything, and maybe she would self-harm if not allowed to speak to a friend about it. She has also told us she supports others who self-harm. I'm not happy about this, she needs help herself about a problem she has not yet overcome, not to have the burden of others who are also distressed.

My daughter is very teenagery and so it's really hard to talk to her about anything. She tends to fly off the handle very quickly or become emotional if it seems we might be trying to curb what she does in any way, and so rational conversatons are definitely out of the question at the moment.

In addition to this I feel myself like I must be to blame somehow for the self-harming although I don't know whyshe does it, and neither does she except to say she "doesn't like herself very much sometimes". It's making me quite down, all the harder since we used to be very close. I almost feel like it's a bereavement she seemed to change so suddenly and this alien person has taken her place. Well, not to wallow in my own misery, it's her who really needs sorting out. How can I ween her off facebook and bring her back into the really world?

Sorry to go on and on, but it's such a problem for us at the moment

anthropology Mon 17-Mar-14 15:35:42

please dont blame yourself !! its really hard not to feel guilty when our kids struggle, but its important you look after yourself and stay strong.There can be many reasons why teens self harm. If she is self harming due to depression, depression is an illness, and with treatment and support and patience, most teens get better, and many of us do get our kids back when they are well.
Its so worrying you have to wait so long. I would call camhs, tell them you are concerned for her safety on online sites, and fight for an earlier appointment. It may not be possible, but try, as at the moment she is too vulnerable to have the control she does, and you are right, that you need professional support asap to help her with other coping skills. could you consider a few private sessions with a psychotherapist, or at least a private assessment to push you up the waiting list.
Are you aware which sites she is using ? you are right that if she is self harming she cant support others and this might be something else to tell camhs, as its quite dangerous.
I do suggest if you are down, ask your own GP for a CBT course, and this might give you the skills to talk to her , also Young Minds website has a callbackservice for parents where you could get professional advice about approaching her internet useage. really hope you get some help very soon.

yackityyak Mon 17-Mar-14 19:19:17

thanks so much for your take on the situation, it's good to get another perspective. Sometimes you really doubt yourself and your parenting skills (even though I thought I was really good at it, before the teen years that is!).

By the way, assuming you have older kids(?), how do you approach the internet time issue? How much time do you allow them per day?

TeenAndTween Tue 18-Mar-14 11:59:16

Is the pastoral care at the school any good?
Can she talk to them whilst waiting for CAMHS?

DD14 is allowed internet time in the living room for up to 90 minutes per evening. She tends to facebook for a while and then play games. Or she doesn't use the computer, and watches TV instead.

Are the people she is talking to real life friends? I would think usual rules should apply and she should not be conversing with people she doesn't know in real life. I would be concerned of the risk of self harmers all pulling each other down (and possibly getting into comptetive self harming? does that happen????).

I would be so tempted to block all internet stuff entirely for a while, but I'm concerned that your DD sounds quite vulnerable so this could be totally the wrong thing to do.

Gymbob Tue 18-Mar-14 17:36:59

My God I could have written this about my dd who is 14. She is sullen all the time and is totally addicted to Facebook. She is also self harming. She is allowed on Facebook 6 til 8 every night but it's not enough for her and she breaks the rules all the time with no regard. She says all the people she wants to talk to are on after 10pm. She isn't allowed internet access upstairs. I have her password and monitor her. it's a nightmare. She was being groomed a couple of years ago and her phone was with CID for 6 months.

She openly admits fb is her life and doesn't want to mix with real people. she refuses to start a new interest and has only 1 friend. She scares off any boys with her ott messages.

When I sent her to her room recently for her attitude I got 'what's the point of that you know I will self harm if you send me' I still sent her. I don't do black mail.

I don't really have any advice except that you must be strong, she is the child and you are the adult. boundaries are a must.

btw mine also going to relate and to camhs.

My beef is that NOBODY else seems to restrict online stuff, only me. There must be a good parent somewhere in her school who says leave your phone downstairs and go to bed but apparently not.angry

you are not alone, feel free to p.m. me. I am as lost as you with it all x

Pantone363 Tue 18-Mar-14 17:46:23

I was having a conversation with a friend who works with teenagers about this yesterday (to do with mental health stuff)

He said that self harming is very much the 'in' thing with teenage girls at the moment. Look on Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest/Tumblr etc. pages and pages of images, memes, blogs, notes that they are surfing about nobody understanding them, hating life, wanting to be thin, heartbreak. Images glorifying self harm with mottos and quotes over the top.

He said that he advises parents to completly restrict internet access. It's like a toxic pool they get caught up in.

We were having this conversation because a mutual friends daughter had been cutting her arms. When asked why it transpired that other friends were also doing it, they were all part of these "nobody understands me" "I wish my life was over" groups. Posts and pics of self harming all trying to outdo each other with their suffering.

I would restrict access.

Pantone363 Tue 18-Mar-14 17:49:21

She also said she was supporting others who were self harming. I think they are almost part of a community online that revolves around their depression/self harm/support they give to other teenage girls also suffering.

Gymbob Tue 18-Mar-14 18:19:26

yes pantone mine is also part of the nobody understands me group. She is so cross and says that's it's not her fault she was born into this world of technology.

when I said we were going to have family screen free day she went into meltdown.

it's so bloody destructive but most of my adult friends are addicted too.

I'm off to live on mars anyone fancy joining me grin

Pantone363 Tue 18-Mar-14 18:42:29

I'd tell you to tell her to get off the internet but I'm currently sitting herewith 10 things that need doing and can't put my phone down!

No it's not her fault. Technology is a good thing though! But everyday she has a choice. It might not be a choice she likes but she has a choice to engage with this toxic crap or not. Given her age I'd make the choice for her. Not completly but certainly take the majority of her screen time away. Meltdown or not, it's not healthy, it's harmful to her much the same way as you'd crack down on smoking or drinking. It's causing physical and mental damage.

Roussette Tue 18-Mar-14 19:00:08

yackityak Please do look at this website. It is for you and also for your DD. I have heard a talk from the person who started this website and they support very many who self harm and also those who are friends and parents of those who self harm. There is a lot of interesting information and help on there.

Travelledtheworld Tue 18-Mar-14 19:13:35

pantone thanks for this insight. I am aware there is a culture of self harm developing at my DDs selective grammar school, mainly in the younger years. I had the feeling it was becoming a " fashionable " thing to do.....but I had not realised there was such a strong on line community encouraging it.

Girls are very susceptible to peer group pressure at that age.

adeucalione Tue 18-Mar-14 19:39:53

My DC aren't allowed online until homework and chores are done, and have to come off at about 10 to wind down before bed, but there are no time restrictions as I think their free time is their own.

However, they self regulate and do do other things, and we don't have the complications that you have with the self harming issue OP.

In your situation I think I would unplug the router and weather the storm. If she really is addicted then she is beyond being rational about this and needs you to stand firm.

I teach and agree with posters who say that self harming is fashionable at the moment, with pupils openly talking about it and comparing wounds.

yackityyak Wed 19-Mar-14 11:38:32

Thanks for all your thoughts on this, and the reference to that website Rousette. Also Gymbob my sympathies, it's helpful to know we are not the only ones. I have checked out self-harming websites before and tend to find them a bit frustrating as the advice for parents is don't force your child to talk to you, wait for them to be ready for it or you could make it worse. Well that's not going to happen with my daughter as we never see her and hardly ever speak. Once again putting the parent in the passive postition of sitting on watching while their child damages themself.

I am also scared by an article I read about a teenager who was depressed and on these awful webites discussing self-harm and suicide, whose worried parents cut off her internet acces, and then had to listen to her in her room banging her head against a wall and ended up killing herself.

God it's all so difficult to know what to do for the best. I feel I must distance myself emotionally from this as it's really affecting me and I fear getting hurt myself if it all ends badly somehow. The thought that I've failed to protect my child it hard to bear.

Gymbob Wed 19-Mar-14 13:26:11

I think that generally speaking self harmers are trying to continue to live not die, and the release they feel in the short term helps them do that.

I refuse to let her blackmail me, but it's hard.

I decided instead of sympathising I would tell her a consequence for the future a psychologist told me. She was visibly shocked, and repeated it to someone on Facebook. I keep looking for the bloodied tissues but haven't found any for a couple of weeks.

can you get a new hobby lined up for your dd?

Hubby is ordering a phone jammer this week, that should sort it out! He's also planning to take it down the pub for a laugh grin

Gymbob Tue 25-Mar-14 12:36:33

how's it going yackity?

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