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How to break a Facebook addiction?


simon43

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Sounds like a light-hearted addiction?  I can tell you that it is not!

 

My 2 nieces (16 and 14 years old) are addicted to using Facebook/Facebook Messenger, such that they are unable to function as normal people...

 

I was aware that their mobile phones seemed to be surgically attached to their hands.  It is an addiction that sees them playing Facebook almost every hour of the day and night.  They will typically return home around 4 am each night to grab a few hours of sleep before reaching for their mobile phones again.

 

Their Thai parents have zero interest in their daughters.  These 2 girls do not go to school, college or work.  

 

I have supported these girls with daily funds to buy basic meals for several years now, but have been physically remote from them due to my work in Myanmar.

 

In preparation to returning to live in Thailand, I made a visit to see my nieces and became aware of their Facebook addiction.

 

The most alarming aspect of their behaviour became apparent when the monthly internet payment was due on their mobile phone.

 

I have been enduring hundreds (yes hundreds!) of Messenger messages pleading for me to pay their internet bill of about 1,200 baht.  Day and night as the cut-off deadline approaches..

 

Both girls would do absolutely anything to get that payment to ensure that access to Facebook/Messenger doesn't stop. (Anything means robbing people or selling themselves on the street)

 

It is a total addiction to Facebook .  And for me, it is very sad to see ?

 

We read about help for alcohol and drug addicts.  But what can I do (if anything) to try to help these 2 girls break out of this addiction?  

 

If the standard addict rule applies (that they recognise that they are addicted and want to end that addiction), then I fear there is no hope....

 

I really appreciate advice about this - I have been trying to help my nieces for many years to lead productive lives, with minimal success.

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, simon43 said:

I have been enduring hundreds (yes hundreds!) of Messenger messages pleading for me to pay their internet bill of about 1,200 baht.  Day and night as the cut-off deadline approaches..

Easy , cut them off by not paying their bills.

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Their parents dont care, the kids are happy their bills are paid and they get food without having to do anything, and you care but are at a remote location...

 

 

This is not going to end well.

 

 

Its trying to get a crack addict to get straight by sending him an online message once a week saying "drugs are bad, mkay". You think that will succeed?

 

 

Either get in there, get control (which will be hard as you are not the parent), or get the parents to take control ... OR ... cut financial and emotional ties and give up on them for now. Anything in between will fail and will destroy you.

 

If i were you i would stop paying for them immediately. Next you need to reach out, the girls are addicts so go to the parents. Try to convince them of what is going on and come with solutions. For example promise money if the kids reach goals (go to school, get good grades, find a job), or try to get them over to you and your wife for a holiday/break or whatever. 

 

If the parents dont see the problem there is nothing you can do. You will need to let it go, which will be hard. But stop giving money as you are enabling them.

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I quit cold turkey 3 months ago, don't need that monkey on my back. Take their phones, allow them one hour a day, let them pay their phone bills, accidently misplace their phones.

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So the parents allow their 14 and 16yo daughters to stay out until 4.00am unsupervised and you are worried about a facebook addiction??!

 

Methinks there are other more pressing things to be concerned about here.

 

Seriously, this is an awful situation for any caring adult relative and it is highly unlikely that you'll have any influence now that you are no longer even in the country.

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Either get in there, get control (which will be hard as you are not the parent), or get the parents to take control ... OR ... cut financial and emotional ties and give up on them for now. Anything in between will fail and will destroy you.

 

This 1,000 times over ?

 

I have known these 2 nieces since they were born.  They used to go to school but started to drop out of school a few years ago. I drove them to school every day, bought their uniforms, paid for their school books etc.  But since their parents didn't care, the girls dropped out of school.

 

They have been going out until 4 am most nights for a few years now, partying with Thai boys and drinking alcohol (yep, since maybe 13 years old).  Their older (more stable) sister tells me that they lost their virginity years ago.  How they have avoided pregnancy, HIV etc is beyond me.

 

They lived with me several years ago in Phuket, but the stress on me was high.  When I moved to work in Myanmar, they returned to live with their grandma in 'bahn-nork'.  I support them with 100 baht a day to buy food, but I do not send them cash for partying, Facebook etc.

 

You know Thai families? They are totally subservient to their useless parents, so getting 'control' of them is impossible.

 

Now I am returning to live in Thailand at the end of October and considered trying to set them on a better path again.

 

But even writing this post tells me that it is a hopeless cause and my stress levels would be much lower if I just cut all ties with them ?

 

 

 

 

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i dont use fb cuz i have a life!

 

give them a hobby if they cant think of one.

 

i did sign up to use fb for work but it actually caused more damage than good. Its annoying because the people using it are annoying it seems.

 

most of my family nolonger use fb also. its just cheesy and stupid really.

 

i read a study somewhere that says its not good to force your kids off fb. cant remember what that fake news was though.

 

 

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You may be overtinking things, when I go to my misses parents place in the sticks its easy to get bored out of my brains.  The advantage of FB and internet it keeps them intouch with society and a form of reality not the mumbo jumbo of village superstition.  If you want to help them find some cheap plans and accept the direction society is moving in, in general.

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23 minutes ago, simon43 said:

 

 

 

This 1,000 times over ?

 

I have known these 2 nieces since they were born.  They used to go to school but started to drop out of school a few years ago. I drove them to school every day, bought their uniforms, paid for their school books etc.  But since their parents didn't care, the girls dropped out of school.

 

They have been going out until 4 am most nights for a few years now, partying with Thai boys and drinking alcohol (yep, since maybe 13 years old).  Their older (more stable) sister tells me that they lost their virginity years ago.  How they have avoided pregnancy, HIV etc is beyond me.

 

They lived with me several years ago in Phuket, but the stress on me was high.  When I moved to work in Myanmar, they returned to live with their grandma in 'bahn-nork'.  I support them with 100 baht a day to buy food, but I do not send them cash for partying, Facebook etc.

 

You know Thai families? They are totally subservient to their useless parents, so getting 'control' of them is impossible.

 

Now I am returning to live in Thailand at the end of October and considered trying to set them on a better path again.

 

But even writing this post tells me that it is a hopeless cause and my stress levels would be much lower if I just cut all ties with them ?

 

 

 

 

It’s a sad story and I can understand how you must feel.  Facebook is the least of their problems.  It’s just too late for an intervention by a relative (you). It’s best that you cut them loose.  You could offer to support them in pursuing a better life under your supervision but do you reallly need that in your life, would they really be interested?  

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You may be overtinking things,

 

No...

 

I can understand that it is boring living in ban nork and 'playing' FB is maybe exciting for a teen. But FB should be just one of different daily leisure activities.

 

 - I use FB everyday, but I'm not glued to my phone almost 24 hours a day. These 2 girls (by their own admission), are totally addicted to FB.  The 16 year old has 5,000 FB friends and the 14 year old has 2,500! (God knows how they got this large number of FB friends). Every night they do live FB videos (although these do seem to be fairly innocent in nature).

 

Sadly, my status with this family is lower than a dog - no respect whatsoever, despite my good efforts to direct my nieces on a better path.  Their only interest in me is for money ?

 

I think I have done all I can.  I was going to say "you can't help stupid".  But my nieces are not stupid, just completely devoid of any good parental guidance.

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You could offer to support them in pursuing a better life under your supervision but do you reallly need that in your life, would they really be interested?

 

I have offered this to them.  Their reply is 'yes'.  But it's just a word they say to try to get money from me ? 

 

If I were to actually take them (with their parent's permission) to another area of the country with more opportunities for leisure activities (I dunno, Chaing Mai or whatever), they would jump on the first bus home after reality dawned on them...

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soon the whole world will be a app. populated by people who go nowhere and do nothing.

 

and if your "likes" drop below a certain level you in big trouble.

 

it you think this is science fiction you are wrong. communist China is rolling this right now with their good citizen ranking score.

 

 

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Simon43, I know you to be a good and thoughtful poster. But you should have stopped serving them years ago. You, yourself, have already put down the arguments for ending the free ride and abandoning your role as Pa Yai. The kids' parents don't care. The kids don't care about education or acting responsibly. Both kids and parents are already on the road to ruin. Sad, to say. You cannot stop them.

 

It may not be a good move to return to their village area -- I'm assuming this is what you are doing. If you move elsewhere on your return, it will be easier to end the financial support and end your stress. You are not responsible for people who don't respect you or even understand you're trying to help them. It seems to me you want to achieve the impossible.

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sounds like they could be prime candidates for Pattaya in a few years time.

 

Correct - Both already have 'bar-girl' tattoes all over their upper back....

 

Their low-life scum parents will instruct them to go work in Pattaya to make money for them, and these girls will go and do just that (where is the 'I am <deleted> angry' emoji?)

 

Kaoboi, no I'm not returning to live in their village.  I did a 'test-run' a few weeks ago and it was a total failure on every single count.  I'm moving to a region far away from them and I will have no links with them whatsoever - that is the best policy to ensure I attain the same 'zero-stress' levels that I've enjoyed in Myanmar ?

 

Thanks for all the comments - I hope karma deals their parents a well-deserved retribution....

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4 hours ago, simon43 said:

The 16 year old has 5,000 FB friends and the 14 year old has 2,500! (God knows how they got this large number of FB friends).

Try to turn the amounts of friends into a FB business for them. Ask them what they like and support them to setup some business.

That can help both to get some money and to let them focus on something different yet using FB, so they don't feel lost without FB completely.

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13 hours ago, simon43 said:

 

My 2 nieces (16 and 14 years old) are addicted to using Facebook/Facebook Messenger, such that they are unable to function as normal people

They are normal. You are abnormal in their view. You need to adapt. 

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You need to adapt. 

 

I use FB every day.  I run my educational charity using FB.  But I have not become addicted to it. 

 

Nor have my own 4 kids. 

Nor have my 2 step-daughters.

These 2 nieces are totally addicted.  They need to change, not me.

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20 hours ago, NCC1701A said:

soon the whole world will be a app. populated by people who go nowhere and do nothing.

 

and if your "likes" drop below a certain level you in big trouble.

 

it you think this is science fiction you are wrong. communist China is rolling this right now with their good citizen ranking score.

 

 

'kin hell. That is scary.

Lucky I won't be about when the world is like that.

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The question is what would you like them to be doing differently?    Of course school and/or work would be a good idea but you said they don't go and didn't give any reason why.

But as far as using Facebook and Messenger all the time, what is wrong with that?   I have slightly more than 1200 friends that I am connected to on Facebook, every single one of them is a person I know in real life, most of them for 20+ years.  They include people I went to school with, people I've worked with, people I've met and then become good friends with, even most of my ex girlfriends. 

Obviously 90% of them don't live in Bangkok, so Facebook is my only way to keep in touch with them, learn what they are doing in their lives and let them know how my life is going.  

As a mechanism to maintain friendships Facebook is by far the best tool out there.  I wouldn't have a hope in hell of staying in touch with everyone I know if it wasn't for Facebook.

I am constantly connected so that I don't miss anything that my friends post and I upload a steady stream of comments about what I'm doing each day.

I also use Facebook to manage my social life.   For example on Friday I had lunch with an Chinese girl who I used to work with in Hong Kong, she was here for the weekend with her Dutch husband (also a friend of mine) and their new baby.  All the contact and arrangements were done via Facebook Messenger.  Now of course we could have used Email except that had we not stayed connected on Facebook for the past 18 years, we probably would have drifted apart and she might not have even known I live in Bangkok.    

There are many reasons why Facebook is useful but to people who don't use it to maintain masses of friendships or to manage a busy social life, it must seem like a bad thing. 

 

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OP, its not all bad. Not sure if you are aware, or the nieces are part of it, but there is a huge sub economy that runs on facebook in thailand. People run businesses, buy sell etc on facebook, its huge. 

For lots of young Thais it is their whole world, news, information and that includes commerce, business, networking etc. its a market place, a social place, an information source etc.

My wife runs 2-3 businesses on FB, sells real estate, sunglasses etc. I didnt think much of it until I realised the size and scope of the FB economy.

There are buy/sell groups with 20,000 members, people selling everything from shoes to watches. Its not a small thing, some of my wifes friends go live every day for 2-3 hours and will have 2,000 people watching their live feed, its like the shopping channel, next morning they are off to the post office sending parcels all over thailand, picking up parcels from suppliers etc.

Some of my wife's friends have shut down their physical shops and market stalls to operate exclusively in the virtual facebook world.

Wife is on FB a large part of the day but probably 10% of that is social, the rest is normal day to day stuff, running her businesses, shopping, finding a new wholesaler, education, information, paying bills etc.

Its your nieces virtual world, for them its no different to our actual world. 

Your nieces maybe wasting their life posting pictures of their lunch but they may also be part of what is the larger social, commercial, business environment of Thailand. 

If my wife steped out of the facebook world tommorrow it would be like going to live in a cave away from society.

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Quote

 


But as far as using Facebook and Messenger all the time, what is wrong with that? 
 

 

 

Your could ask the same about drinking alcohol, playing computer games or taking drugs or gambling etc.  It's all fine until it affects your health - physical and mental.

 

My 2 nieces exclude everything from their lives because they are totally addicted to FB.  They do not go to school because they prefer to play FB.  They do not want to work because they want to play FB.  They do not want to sleep because they will miss FB time. They do not want to interact with anyone who interferes with their FB time.

 

I set up a FB business for them, but they don't even want to do this because it cuts into the time that they can chat with their friends on FB.

 

It is difficult maybe for you to understand how FB rules their lives, almost 24 hours each day.  That is an addiction.

 

Update:



There are many reasons why Facebook is useful but to people who don't use it to maintain masses of friendships or to manage a busy social life, it must seem like a bad thing. 

 

I also use FB extensively every day for social, business and charitable purposes.  So my views are not out of ignorance..

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18 minutes ago, simon43 said:

 

Your could ask the same about drinking alcohol, playing computer games or taking drugs or gambling etc.  It's all fine until it affects your health - physical and mental.

Alcohol vs Facebook.  Harmful use of alcohol results in the death of 2.5 million people annually, causes illness and injury to millions more, and increasingly affects younger generations and drinkers in developing countries.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Cheops said:

Try to turn the amounts of friends into a FB business for them. Ask them what they like and support them to setup some business.

That can help both to get some money and to let them focus on something different yet using FB, so they don't feel lost without FB completely.

Are they interested in politics?  They could start a troll farm.  I think there will be a big market soon for that in Thailand.

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