You’re not alone if you lose track of time after using social media for several minutes or even hours. While social media began as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family, it has since grown into a popular pastime enjoyed by people of all ages.
“Social media addiction” isn’t a recognized diagnosis. However, excessive use of social media is becoming more common, and it can have serious physical and mental health consequences.
According to statistics on social media addiction, 15% of people between the ages of 23-38 admit to being addicted to social media.
The percentage of people who feel “slightly” addicted to social media is highest among those aged 18-22, with 40%, and lowest among those aged 23-38, with 37%.
Then, 9% of people aged 39 to 54 believe they are addicted to something.
In this article, we will tackle social media addiction that is timely and relevant in the current situation. We will run down the statistics and facts about social media addiction that widely affects people who have one.
What is Social Media Addiction?
With these advanced technologies, everything is just one click, one swipe, and one login. Social media plays a huge role in human life.
It bridges people who are far from each other, connects to instant news and entertainment, and with it, it seems everything is informative. People who are addicted to social media spend so much time and energy on it that they neglect other areas of their lives.
Social media addiction is a type of behavioral addiction defined by an excessive preoccupation with social media and an uncontainable desire to log on to or use social media.
Addicts spend so much time on their social media apps that they neglect other important aspects of their lives.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram elicit the same neural circuitry as gambling and recreational drugs.
A constant stream of retweets, likes, and shares stimulates the reward center of the brain in the same way that other drugs, such as cocaine, do.
According to some neuroscientists, social media interaction is comparable to injecting dopamine directly into the system via a syringe.
Statistics on Social Media Addiction
Social media browsing has grown in popularity over the last decade. While most people’s use of social media is harmless, a small percentage of users develop a social media addiction and engage in compulsive or excessive use.
Psychologists estimate that 5-10% of Americans today are addicted to social media. It is characterized by excessive concern for social media, an uncontrollable urge to log on or use social media, and a commitment to social media that interferes with other important life areas.
According to estimates, over 210 million people worldwide are addicted to social media and the internet.
Teens who spend more than 5 hours per day on their smartphones are twice as likely to develop depression symptoms.
34%t of young adults are afraid of missing out if they are not on social media. 50% of drivers check their social media while driving.
If no one likes their post, a whopping 43% of teenagers feel bad. Daily, 74% of all Americans check their Facebook accounts.
4.88 Billion People Use the Internet. According to WeAreSocial, the number of internet users increased by more than 222 million in the year to October 2021, bringing the total to 4.88 billion. This equates to 61.8% of the global population.
Also, 4.44 billion people use the internet on their mobile phones. The majority of people now own a mobile phone.
Mobile internet users (cellular and/or Wi-Fi) account for 4.44 billion people or 90.9% of all internet users. And the majority of them will support social media.
Smartphones are used by 89.6% of all internet users. Only 4.8% of people have feature phones with buttons.
Below are the statistics and facts about social media addiction:
1. Social Media Addiction By Gender and Age
Instagram is preferred by 16–24-year-olds. Instagram is the preferred social platform of 37.6% of females aged 16 to 24 and 31.2% of males aged 16 to 24 are using it.
This outweighs their enthusiasm for WhatsApp, Facebook, or any other social media platform in both cases.
Women in their twenties and thirties continue to prefer Instagram, with 25.7% saying it is their favorite social media platform (followed by Facebook).
Males in that age group, on the other hand, prefer WhatsApp (24.7%), with Facebook coming in second. Females prefer Facebook (26.3%t) the most among 35–44-year-olds, with WhatsApp and Instagram coming in second and third, respectively.
Males also preferred Facebook (28.1%), WhatsApp, and Instagram, in that order. Females prefer Facebook over WhatsApp among older people (45-64), whereas males prefer WhatsApp over Facebook. For older age groups, support for Instagram is significantly lower.
It’s worth noting that these figures exclude those under the age of sixteen. Only 7.6% of females and 3.7 % of males aged 16 to 24 say they prefer TikTok.
Snapchat has even less support among this age group, with only 3.0% of females and 2.6% of males choosing it as their preferred social media platform.
Although 83% of teenagers use YouTube, they prefer Snapchat. Regrettably, data on teen social use appears to be older than that on older age groups.
In a survey conducted in 2018, Pew Research looked at how teenagers in the United States use social media.
They discovered that 85% of teenagers use YouTube, with 72% using Instagram, 69% Snapchat, and 51% using Facebook. TikTok hadn’t yet reached its pinnacle, so Pew Research left it out of their 2018 survey.
Snapchat was the favorite platform of 35% of teens at the time, followed by YouTube (32%), Instagram (15%), and Facebook (10%).
Qustodio’s recent studies on children’s digital habits in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain found that kids spend an average of 75 minutes per day on TikTok.
Their most recent study was conducted recently enough to capture the popularity of TikTok. In all three countries where children aged 4 to 15 were polled, TikTok was the most popular social app.
However, Qustodio classifies YouTube as an online video app rather than a social app, so these figures exclude YouTube.
Kids spent an average of 75 minutes per day on TikTok in 2020, up from 38 minutes in 2019. With 44 minutes of usage, Instagram came in second, followed by Snapchat (39 minutes), Pinterest (17%), Facebook (17%), and Twitter (17%).
TikTok is also the most heavily censored social media platform among parents.
In 2020, more parents will block TikTok than other social media apps (unlike in 2019 when they blocked Instagram most.) This could be due to some parents realizing that social media can be addictive and attempting to limit their children’s use.
TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter were the most blocked social apps in 2020 for kids.
YouTube, Netflix, Twitch, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube Kids were the most-blocked video apps by parents in 2020.
2. Facebook Addiction Statistics
- Facebook has over 2.6 billion active monthly users.
According to statistics, Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform. And of those 18 – 34 ages, 48% check Facebook first thing in the morning, and 13% do so before bed.
That such habits are unhealthy and leading causes of social media addiction is the biggest concern.
- Every second, six new Facebook profiles are created.
Six new profiles are created every second on the social network, which has over 5 million advertisers. A Facebook user spends an average of 35 minutes per day browsing the social network, with 24% of that time spent looking at other people’s posts and photos.
- Americans use Facebook daily, with 74% of them doing so daily.
It’s not surprising that nearly 7 in 10 Americans are on Facebook. However, according to social media addiction statistics, 74% of them log in at least once daily, and 51% do so multiple times. But the sad part is that users’ borderline addictive behavior hasn’t changed since 2016.
- Facebook is the third most visited website on the internet.
According to SEMrush data from October 2021, Facebook ranks third in total website traffic, trailing only Google and YouTube. During that month, 11.2 billion people visited Facebook, with each visit lasting an average of 21 minutes 52 seconds.
3. 2H 27M is spent on Social Media each day
We Are Social compared how much time internet users aged 16 to 64 spend with various types of media and devices daily.
The average person spends 2 hours and 27 minutes per day on social media, according to the study.
In comparison, they spend 3 hours 21 minutes on average watching all types of television, 2 hours 5 minutes reading news, 1 hour 35 minutes listening to music streaming, 1 hour 1 minute listening to broadcast radio, 57 minutes listening to podcasts, and 1 hour 13 minutes playing video games on a games console.
All of these figures were higher than those reported in April 2021, indicating that, thanks to Covid, people are spending more time at home.
4. Teenagers use social media for up to nine hours per day
Teenagers spend even more time on social media than adults, according to FameMass (no surprise about that).
Teenagers aged 13 to 18 spend 3 hours and 1 minute per day on average. Some teenagers, on the other hand, spend up to 9 hours per day on social media, far more than they do in school.
- YouTube received 14.1 billion visits, with each visit lasting an average of 30 minutes and 56 seconds (up considerably on the 9-minute average in April 2021). However, according to FameMass, the average person spends 44 minutes per day on YouTube. For many people, however, YouTube serves as a substitute for television.
- Instagram (2.9 billion visits averaging 17 minutes 43 seconds) and Twitter are two other popular social media platforms (2.4 billion visits, averaging 14 minutes 34 seconds).
- There were fewer visits in each case than in April 2021, but the average visits were longer. The average time spent on Twitter has also doubled, in addition to the massive increase in average YouTube viewing time.
5. 15% of people aged 23-38 admit to being addicted to social media.
If 15% is a low figure, consider the rest of Statista’s social media addiction research. When asked whether the statement “I am addicted to social media” describes them somewhat or completely, 30% of all respondents said “somewhat”, while 9% said they believe they are social media addicts.
The percentage of people who are “somewhat” addicted to social media is highest among those aged 18-22, at 40%, and lowest among those aged 23–38, at 37%. Then, 9% of people aged 39 to 54 report feeling addicted.
How It Affects The Brain and Mental Health
The brain-based effects of social media make it physically and psychologically addictive. Self-disclosure on social networking sites activates the same brain region as addictive substances, according to new research from Harvard.
Influence of chemical messenger pathways on decisions and feelings Dopamine levels rise in response to pleasurable experiences or addictive substances. Determinant of whether or not the drug or activity is good for you.
Dopamine is released into the brain when someone receives a notification like a like or mention, causing them to feel happy.
For a small effort, social media provides an endless supply of instant attention. Getting likes, retweets, and emoticons changes brain wiring.
The brain’s reward centers are activated when people talk about themselves, contributing to social media addiction. Because social media is all about self-promotion, people talk about themselves 80% of the time.
When someone posts a picture on social media, the brain releases dopamine, rewarding the behavior and perpetuating the social media habit.
The use of social media to relieve stress, loneliness, or depression is problematic. They keep using social media because it rewards them in ways that real life does not.
The absence of attention to real-life relationships, work or school obligations, and physical health can worsen negative moods.
People increase their social networking activity to combat depression. When users repeat this cyclical pattern of relieving bad moods with social media, their psychological dependence on it grows.
- Internet and social media addiction statistics show that teenagers who use their smartphones for 5 hours or more per day are twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms as those who only use their smartphones for one hour per day. This demonstrates that the consequences of social media and technology accessibility may be more serious than previously thought.
The first of many social media addiction symptoms, depression, appears to primarily affect women (58%), implying that both depression and excessive social media use are partially gender-related. (Mediakix)
- According to a Pew Research Center report, the youngest adults are the most likely to use social media. A staggering 88% of people aged 18 to 29 say they use social media in some form or another, putting them at the greatest risk of becoming addicted to it.
Those aged 30-49 account for only 79% of the population. The percentage of people who consume alcohol decreases as they get older, with those aged 50 to 64 reporting 64% consumption and those aged 65 and up reporting only 37%.
Signs You’re Becoming A Social Media Addict
Most of us use social media regularly, but only a small percentage of us are truly addicted. Here are some signs that you’re on the verge of developing a social media addiction:
- Always thinking about or planning to use social media a lot.
- Have an increasing desire to use social media.
- Use social media to divert your attention away from your issues.
- Frequently try, but fail, to limit the use of social media.
- When you can’t use social media, you become agitated or worried.
- Your excessive use of social media has harmed your job or studies.
A digital detox, defined as a period during which someone spends significantly less time using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, could be a prudent precaution.
Simple measures can be taken, such as turning off sound notifications and checking social media sites only once every hour.
Other changes could include having self-imposed non-screen time during the day, such as during mealtimes, or leaving the phone in a separate room at night to avoid disrupting sleep.
This restores a focus on physical social interaction and reduces reliance on social networking sites.
While the internet has undoubtedly made our lives easier and better in many ways, it has also had negative consequences.
According to research, excessive use of digital technologies has negative consequences for mental health and overall social-emotional well-being. Everyone needs to unplug from social media now and then.
Addiction to social media can be crippling for those who cannot function without it. If your social media addiction is severe enough that you need professional help, you should consider reducing your screen time.
Consider why you use it and the benefits and drawbacks of your previous platforms.