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So, let's name our main character Josh. Josh is a close friend of mine in highschool, we're both 14. Problem is Josh is very addicted to his phone. At first, Josh would use his phone after class a lot (that makes sense, it's spare time); but then Josh starts to use his phone in class (kinda bad but not really), now he only uses his phone in class. Every period, if you were to see him, he would be on his phone on Snapchat chatting up girls his age. But at this point, it has gotten very unhealthy.


So to go into detail:

  1. For science, English, maths and social studies. Josh is always (from me and everyone else in our class) using Snapchat talking to people. These are the same subjects he is not strong at and sometimes our maths teacher would worry for Josh's grades

  2. Josh is too addicted to chasing girls, focusing more on girls instead of school. This is short-term satisfaction, I told him. Thing is, he is not chasing girls for the chance of finding love. It is more of a social status thing. For example, he goes around bragging about having sex and recently, sending footage of him getting head. (huge controversy, leading to a lot of people leaving group chat because they were disgusted). BTW the reason for the use of his phone in class is to talk to these girls.

  3. Recently, (like 20 mins ago) I tried talking to Josh about his phone addiction in class and suggesting for him to get rid of Snapchat to be able to focus in class. His response is that it is fine and that he is doing well in his subjects. I am his closest friend, so yes, I know his grades, and as said before, he's not that strong in some subjects.

  4. My classmates and other friends are aware of Josh's addiction and several times, Josh has become more violent as well. I have witnessed him slamming his "close friend" into a locker because he dropped his phone.


I think this has gotten out of hand.

My question is: How can I help Josh overcome his phone addiction?

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    I've seen people withdraw into their phones if they have a lot of stress/issues going on in their lives. Are you certain that - apart from what you've described - Josh has no other problems at school or home? – user8671 Aug 20 '18 at 9:43
  • Thx @Ontamu, but Kozaky. From the snaps he takes, I can say safely that he doesn't have problems at home. Though he did get into a drama in school and SUPPOSBLY, got jumped. But the phone addiction started before the drama. – Nfagie Yansaneh Aug 20 '18 at 9:49
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    Related: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/q/11853 – TheRealLester Aug 20 '18 at 12:12
  • @NfagieYansaneh Social media is prone to only showing the good things, and hiding the bad. Just because he is only showing you the good parts of his life doesn't mean that he doesn't have some other stress. It could be a death in the family, or a strained relationship with a parent, or a host of other things. – Ethan Aug 20 '18 at 20:00
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Like with every kind of addiction the hardest part is to make the person admit they have a problem. You did the right thing trying to address it with him and I would say you should give it a couple more tries before you give up on that option.

All the other options I can suggest will not be very popular with your classmates or Josh so they might cause some backlash if you are not careful.

If talking with Josh doesn't work I would try to escalate it first with the teachers in school. I am 100% certain you have a no phones during class policy in the school so you can share your concerns with the teacher and ask them to be more strict about this policy. Make sure you explain you are asking because you are concerned for your friend and his grades and not because you think they are not doing their job right.

If issues continue I believe you should talk to Josh's parents. They are the people that should be able to remedy the situation. Just share your concerns with them and let them decide the best course of action. This might cost you your friendship though as it might be seen as you "ratting" on your friend and betraying his trust. I wish I had anything better to suggest. The amount of backlash really depends on how they handle the situation and how Josh will take it or how long it takes for him to realize you are actually trying to help him.

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What you describe is the typical spiral of a computer or internet addict:

  • They have a problem in the real world (bad at school, bad with girls, can be literally anything). They feel like they cannot accomplish anything of importance.
  • They retreat into the digital world where they can achieve virtual accomplishments. In his case, the bragging right is far more valuable that the actual sex.
  • The addiction causes more problems in the real world.
  • They withdraw further and further.

Taking his phone away by force (by teachers of course) will keep him from using it during class, but it will not remove the cause of his addiction.

What he really needs in professional help. As with any addiction, true change has to come from within. Only trained, professional psychologists can teach you to cope with your addiction and change yourself to get rid of it.

Talk to his parents (in private) and explain the situation from your point of view. Tell them that this looks like an addiction to you and should be treated like alcoholism or drug abuse. If you really want to help, research programs for rehabilitating internet addicts and forward useful information to his parents.

What he also needs is a friend! If Josh's parents decide to talk to him about his addiction, there will be arguments, accusations, hurtful words and hurt feelings. Try to see it all as a symptom of his addiction and be aware that he doesn't mean half of it. Stay his friend and help him through it.

The more positive experiences you can give him in the real world, the less he needs to withdraw into the virtual world.

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