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Social Media Addicts Read On...

Why you’re addicted to Social Media

The social media community was left in shock after the news broke that Danny Bowman, a 19-year-old UK resident attempted suicide after being obsessed with taking “selfies”. A debate ensued online, with strong opinions being voiced on either side of the social media argument. A dependence on networking tools is obvious, and technology is slowly indoctrinating the world’s inhabitants into believing that they need it, but is now the time to finally admit that as a race we are addicted? If so, this will have dire consequences for the psychological well-being of the average person on the street, and there could be an army full of social media addicts walking the streets.

social media addicts
Source: wheelerblogs.com

Dr Karrie Lager, a child psychologist says “in moderation, social media can be a great way for teens to connect to others, to relate to their peers and to express themselves.” She went on to say: “However, excessive internet use can have serious negative consequences.” These words followed a survey published by CASA Columbia. The survey explored the correlations between teenagers, social media use and drug abuse. In the results they found that 70 percent of teenagers aged 12-17 spend time on a social media site every day, and this figure amounts to 17 million teenagers. According to the survey, those that interact using social media methods on a daily basis are five times likelier to use tobacco. They are also three times likelier to use alcohol, and twice as likely to use marijuana.

These are worrying statistics, as it now appears that as well as all the amazing things that can be done with social media, like everything else, it is being corrupted by sour minds. Among these people are some that are addicted to social media, and they can be helped, but also they must realise that it is as lethal as other addictions.

One of the dangers that the above results highlight is the content that is readily available to teenagers across the globe. Many images that glamorise the use of certain drugs are a regular sight, and this could be one of the major reasons why more teenagers who use social media are experimenting with drugs. One of the sites that many use to see content such as this is Facebook, and despite its critical acclaim due to the transformation of a social landscape by the way it has connected millions of people, there is also a dependence on Facebook that can reach destructive levels.

The University of Michigan explored this issue in a study published in August 2013. The study looked in depth the relationship between Facebook use and personal well-being. They took the unusual method of texting participants five times a day over a two-week period about how they felt after using Facebook and how satisfied they were feeling about their lives. The study showed that Facebook had a negative impact on the lives on those being studied, but they kept going back for more. Although these results were overwhelmingly negative from a Facebook point of view, it must be considered what type of people were participating, and results can always been manipulated if the sampling is done in a way that steers the researchers towards one definitive answer that agrees with their own view.

social media addicts
Source: socialmediatoday.com

Providing that these results are relative to the general public, then why do we all keep going back for more? Another study was conducted at Harvard University’s Psychology Department, and they found that there is a biological reward that happens when people disclose information about themselves. The studies reported that “self-disclosure was strongly associated with increased activation in brain regions that form the mesolimbic dopamine system, including the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area.” If this is to be believed then social media has pounced on human programming.

The desire to disclose personal information is part of the human condition according to the reports, and it is so far ingrained into the human cell that people will part with money to talk about themselves online. The whole social media world becomes quite solipsistic if people are just out to talk about themselves for satisfaction of the soul.

Social media is relatively new, but it is preying on the apparent human condition that makes it so addictive. This is how the phenomenon of Selfies came along, and after that there will be another fad that displays narcissism on a mass scale. Society must be careful, as social media has the impact that taking a drug does, and if one overdoses on anything, then the self will ultimately suffer. These studies are part of a massive debate however, and there is another side.

The reports seem to discount what positives that social media has given the world. There was a brief mention of Facebook’s success in connecting people across the world, but there have been bigger achievements. Social media can help raise money for charity, which ultimately saves lives, and for many it is the only way of communicating with family members. There must be a balanced argument when speaking about the affects of social media, but the reports do successfully highlight the dangers of it, and coupled with the recent attempted suicide of a young man who found himself absorbed by it, there is a need to take social media seriously from both points of view.

Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently an intern at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF 

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Social Media Addicts Read On... Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, May 09, 2014 Rating: 5
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