Social media networks such as Facebook are extremely addictive. Studies show that most people check, update and interact on social sites constantly throughout the day. In addition, they really have no clear idea of how much actual time they spend doing this.
If you’re a social media addict, and your addiction is getting worse, says Mike Elgan – there’s a reason for that: Most of the major social network companies, as well as social content creators, are working hard every day to make their networks so addictive that you can’t resist them.
Cornell Information Science published research earlier this month that looked at (among other things) the difficulty some people have in quitting Facebook and other social networks. They even have a label for the failure to quit: “social media reversion.” The study used data from a site called 99DaysofFreedom.com, which encourages people to stop using Facebook for 99 days.
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An excerpt from a story done by CBS News reveals that, according to a 2012 study posted on the National Institutes of Health website, “Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) ruins lives by causing neurological complications, psychological disturbances, and social problems.” It is still not officially listed as a psychiatric disorder in the bible of psychiatric disease, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), though the more narrowly defined Internet Gaming Addiction was added in May 2013.
Other subtypes of Internet addiction — such as social media addiction — have not been studied enough to receive their own clinical definitions or treatment recommendations. But some of the research on Internet addiction in general may shed light on Thibault’s observations about social media.
Psychiatrist and neuroscience researcher Sean Luo of Columbia University told CBS News studies have shown that “3.7 to 13 percent of U.S. and 10 percent of South Korean Internet users express some symptoms of inappropriate Internet use.” He estimates that at least 1 percent of Internet users worldwide need treatment.
Signs of Social Media Addiction:
- Excessive Use: Individuals who are addicted to social media may spend an inordinate amount of time on various platforms, often to the detriment of other responsibilities or activities.
- Loss of Control: People with social media addiction may find it challenging to control or limit their use, even if they are aware of the negative impact on their lives.
- Neglect of Responsibilities: Addiction to social media can lead to neglect of work, studies, or other responsibilities. Individuals may find themselves spending more time online than engaging in real-world activities.
- Impact on Relationships: Excessive social media use can strain relationships, as individuals may prioritize online interactions over face-to-face connections. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- Negative Impact on Mental Health: Social media addiction has been associated with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and sleep disturbances. Constant comparison to others on social media can contribute to feelings of inadequacy.
- Escapism: Some individuals turn to social media as a way to escape from real-life problems or to cope with stress. This can create a cycle where the individual becomes increasingly reliant on social media for emotional regulation.
- Physical Consequences: Excessive screen time, often associated with social media use, can lead to physical issues such as eye strain, disrupted sleep patterns, and sedentary behavior.
Addressing social media addiction typically involves recognizing the issue, setting limits on usage, and seeking support if necessary. Behavioral interventions, counseling, and support groups can be effective in helping individuals break the cycle of social media addiction and develop healthier habits. It’s essential for individuals to strike a balance between online and offline activities to maintain overall well-being.