Click, scroll, snap, comment, and then scroll again. This has been a habit of a social media addict. Who wouldn’t be addicted to social media? Aside from it connecting us to our distant relatives, it also gives us entertainment and some level of satisfaction.
At first, social media is good but as time goes by, it deteriorates our minds, ruins our productivity, and sometimes destroys relationships.
3.1 billion people use social media and addiction to social media is comparable to cocaine addiction.
Also, social media addiction has been found to increase loneliness, anxiety, and depression; it can also affect one’s productivity and performance whether in school or at work.
These are the common facts about social media addiction. No matter how much you use social media and how much you enjoy it, the question is whether or not you’ve become “addicted” to it.
In this article, we will tackle social media addiction facts and their unfavorable effects on our daily routine. Also, we will provide a guide on how to detox from social media.
Social Media Addictions and Its Effect
Connecting with friends and family, watching videos, or simply “killing time” are all common reasons for using social media in the last decade. Young to middle-aged adults, including children and teenagers, are particularly susceptible to this.
Using social media, like other behavioral addictions, can harm your brain. It’s possible to overdo it on social media. You can get so used to scrolling through social media posts, images, and videos that it interferes with other aspects of your daily routine.
As many as 5% to 10% of Americans are currently classified as social media addicts, according to psychologists.
As a behavioral addiction, social media addiction consists of excessive concern for social media, an uncontrollable urge to log on or use social media, and devoting so much time and effort to social media that it interferes with other important aspects of life.
There is no guarantee that every person who uses social media will become addicted to it. However, as more people have access to social media, they may become addicted to it at some point in their lives.
Although social media can appear to be mindless entertainment, it has a significant impact on your cognitive functioning.
Dopamine-producing social networking environments are largely responsible for social media addictions. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram use the same brain circuitry as gambling and recreational drugs to entice users to spend as much time as possible on their platforms.
These sites’ constant stream of retweets, likes, and shares causes the brain’s reward area to activate in the same way that cocaine does. Neuroscientists have likened social media interaction to a dopamine injection directly into the brain.
The Effects of Social Media
Social media is physically and psychologically addictive due to its brain-based effects. A new Harvard University study found that self-disclosure on social networking sites activates the same brain region as addictive substances.
Its chemical messenger pathways influence decisions and feelings. Dopamine levels rise when rewarding experiences or addictive substances are used. So the brain gets a “reward” and associates the drug or activity with good.
When someone receives a notification, such as a like or mention, their brain releases dopamine and sends it along reward pathways, causing them to feel happy. For a small amount of effort, social media offers an endless supply of immediate attention from others.
This positive reinforcement rewires the brain, making people crave likes, retweets, and emoticons.
Even though many people use social media regularly, very few are truly addicted to it. How can you tell if someone is going to become addicted to social media?
- Do you think about social media a lot and plan to use social media a lot?
- Do you start to want to use social media more and more often?
- Is it true that you use social media to forget about your problems?
- Is it often that you try to stop using social media but don’t get very far.
- Do you get irritated or bored if you can’t use social media?
- Does social media haven’t been good for you at work or school because you use it so much?
A “yes” to more than three of these questions may be a sign of social media addiction, but it’s not 100% sure.
It might be a good idea to do a “digital detox,” which is when someone spends less time on electronic devices like phones and computers. As simple as turning off sound notifications and only checking social media sites once an hour is two simple ways to do this.
People can also set times of the day when you don’t use their phones, like at mealtimes. You can also put your phone away at night so you don’t wake up.
This allows for a return to social interaction in the real world and less reliance on social networking sites, which is good for people.
Social media use becomes problematic when it is used to cope with stress, loneliness, or depression. As a result of the rewards they receive from social media use, they become more involved.
Inattention to real-life relationships, work or school obligations, and physical health eventually lead to multiple interpersonal issues that may exacerbate an individual’s undesirable moods and behaviors.
To alleviate dysphoric mood states, people turn to social networking. The level of psychological dependence on social media increases when users repeat this cyclical pattern of relieving bad moods with social networking.
Social Media Addiction Facts
It’s becoming more and more common for people to struggle with social media addiction as technology advances. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have all perfected the art of user experience, luring users of all ages to spend longer and longer time on their apps.
To put it another way, if you can’t stop checking your phone to see what’s new on social media, you may have a problem with social media addiction. Here are five facts about the pervasiveness of social media addiction:
1. Worldwide, 3.1 billion people use social media.
While social media keeps the world connected, it is also becoming a global problem that is only getting worse. As of 2018, social media is used by 3.1 billion people or roughly one-third of the world’s population.
Active mobile social media users account for 2.9 billion of the world’s social media users which is 94% of all users on social media platforms. In the last year, the number of people using social media has increased by 13% (362 million) globally.
2. Addiction to social media is comparable to cocaine addiction.
Cocaine is one of the most addictive recreational drugs available, despite its harmful and potentially fatal nature. Due to the excess dopamine released in the brain’s reward circuit, users experience a brief euphoria.
Social media can cause similar dopamine releases in the brain, simulating the euphoric experience sought by cocaine addicts. The likes, comments, retweets, and shares have been shown in studies to be nearly as addictive as a cocaine high.
3. Social Media Addiction increases loneliness, anxiety, and depression.
Humans are social creatures who require social interaction to thrive. Alarmingly, social media platforms have been shown to mimic or even replace the social benefits we get from in-person interaction.
When it is used to replace our interpersonal social connections, this can be a problem. When people use social media to cope with stress, their real-life relationships may suffer as a result, exacerbating interpersonal problems even more.
Furthermore, when comparing one’s life to that of others, excessive social media exposure skews one’s perception of reality. Users frequently compare their current situation to those they follow when they see their followers’ constant success.
Self-esteem, self-worth, and depression are all affected as a result of this. Meanwhile, everyone’s life situation is unique, and social media typically only captures the highlights of people’s lives.
The mundane, behind-the-scenes aspects of people’s lives are rarely captured by social media’s narrow lens. Furthermore, seeing everyone else’s lives play out through their timeline makes it impossible to live up to the unrealistic standard of success that is created.
4. 50% of smartphone users are checking social media while driving.
90% of drivers admit to using their smartphones while driving. 50% of those say they use their smartphones to check social media.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 people are killed and over 1,000 are injured every day as a result of using a smartphone while driving.
According to AT&T’s recent It Can Wait campaign, 90% of drivers admit to using their smartphones while driving.
Teenagers are the most commonly reported age group for distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Almost 25 million Americans have pledged to drive without distractions so far.
5. Addiction to social media impairs mental performance.
The findings of a study comparing social media use, mental health, and academic performance among college students backed up the idea that social media addiction lowers mental performance.
In the study, college students who used social media the most consistently performed worse academically than their peers who used social media the least.
The study also found that social media use harms college students who already have poor mental health, implying that it can exacerbate the problem when social needs are not met.
Whether you’re a college student or not, the study’s findings show that social media addiction can harm performance, whether it’s in school or at work.
6. Social media addiction can result in vicarious trauma and PTSD-like symptoms.
News media outlets have an impact on social media as well. Although Facebook and other social media platforms have dedicated teams to remove explicit content, gruesome and shocking videos from news organizations can still be found.
As a result, watching such graphic events unfold on our phones has an impact on our daily activities and some people may experience longer-term effects such as negative stress reactions, anxiety, and, in some cases, post-traumatic stress disorders-PTSD as a result of viewing such content.
Social media addicts are more likely to experience vicarious trauma as a result of excessive exposure to graphic videos and images.
7. Teens who use their phones for 5 hours per day are two times more likely to experience depression symptoms.
The widespread use of mobile technology and social media has had unintended consequences.
According to a 2018 study, teens who spend 5 hours per day on their phones are nearly twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms as those who spend only 1 hour on their phones.
Surprisingly, there appears to be a strong link between excessive mobile use and depression, with 58% more females than males experiencing depressive symptoms.
If long periods of screen time weren’t bad enough for people’s sleep, social media addictions are making it even more difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
45% of people prefer to check social media rather than sleep, and roughly 10% of teenagers check their phones more than 10 times per night.
8. Fear of Missing Out is real.
FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out, is said to be one of the most powerful motivators for people to become addicted to social media.
According to one study, 67% of people are afraid of missing out on updates if they don’t check their social media news feeds regularly. If you’ve had similar feelings, you may be suffering from FOMO!
How Do You Detox From Social Media?
We can’t say that protecting ourselves from social media addiction is a manageable task based on the fact that millions of adults suffer from social media addiction each year. Social media addiction, as its name suggests, is a psychological condition marked by an unhealthy preoccupation with online networking sites.
This is a result of a person’s insatiable desire to log on to or use social media, causing them to neglect other aspects of their lives in the process. Here are some strategies for disconnecting from social media and reducing your desire to check your timeline regularly.
● Disable push notifications
Push notifications can take your attention away from what’s going on in the world. Turning them off will allow you to pay more attention to the people around you rather than your phone.
● Place phone in a different room
As a follow-up to disabling push notifications, simply moving your phone to a different room can eliminate the temptation to pick up your phone entirely.
● Set aside specific times to use social media
To stay healthy, you must practice moderation in everything you do, and this practice will help you avoid overuse.
● Find healthy ways to spend your time instead of on social media
As a coping mechanism, use social media less. This list of coping skills will give you some ideas for how to deal with boredom and anxiety.
● Remove social media apps
Remove all of your phone’s social media apps. If you use them on other devices besides your phone, you should activate website blockers to prevent you from accessing them.
● Deactivate your accounts
Deleting the apps will not be sufficient to deactivate your accounts. Make it more difficult to access your accounts by following these instructions.
● Switch to another activity instead of using social media
Investigate on your own! Keep your mind off of it by engaging in other activities. Spend some quality time with your friends while you have the chance. Once you’ve experienced the joy of face-to-face communication, you may never want to return to social media.
● Seek professional help
When it comes to assisting you with behavioral changes, the advice of a professional counselor is unrivaled.
When it comes to “social media addiction,” there isn’t an official diagnosis. However, overuse of social media can have serious consequences for your physical and mental health, and it is becoming increasingly commonplace.
Setting clear boundaries for yourself can go a long way toward preventing you from becoming addicted to social media. If you think you may be addicted to social media, you can take steps to get your life back on track.
If you’re struggling with this kind of addiction, don’t be afraid to seek help from a mental health professional.