I have worked with boys who are very socially motivated yet because their social learning challenges were never effectively addressed (through traditional talk therapy, social skills groups, etc.) they are constantly on social media, searching for connection and social validation.
While that is not different than other teenagers what makes it much more severe is that they hyperfocus on their online life because they’re lacking genuine connection with their peers in real life.
I used a baseball analogy with a 15-year-old (who had several major social blunders) on social media which included embarrassing himself to the point that he didn’t want to go to school. To illustrate how the majority of individuals on his Snapchat and Instagram accounts are people he doesn’t know and how he’s wasting he’s a tremendous amount of time and energy looking looking for validation from kids he will never meet.
The analogy I used was baseball major leagues and minor leagues and how he should only spend time and energy communicating with kids on social media who are in the “major leagues” meaning they are local and he could actually meet them in person and has something in common such as school, youth group, etc.
The numbers in the “AAA” and “AA” categories are those who he connected to on social media but doesn’t know.
Social media presents a significant challenge for kids who are socially motivated yet have social learning challenges.