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Are You Addicted to Social Media?

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The thought of never being able to like a picture, tweet about your day, and follow your friends online may be a relief to some. However to many people in today’s world, this thought is absolutely terrifying. For a number of people, checking their social media accounts has become an essential part of their daily routines, where some might scroll through all their social media accounts before even getting up to brush their teeth in the morning. If you feel that this applies to you, you may be one of the many people who are addicted to social media.

 

Although there is no official medical recognition, or professional diagnosis that social media addiction is a disease, one who spends too much time on Facebook or Instagram can quickly find that it is interfering with other important daily tasks. The behavior that revolves around excessive use of social media has drawn much attention as far as finding further research to explain how and why one may be addicted to social networks.

 

The word addiction is used when describing a compulsive dependence on something which leads to negative effects. For years, we have become accustomed to hearing that a person may be addicted to alcohol, drugs, and gambling. However, the idea of being addicted to social media still baffles many. The question that comes to the minds of these people is, “How can someone be SO addicted to social media that it can interfere with work, school, and family life?” Well, this is where people must come to a conclusion on whether spending five hours on Twitter stalking someone’s tweets is an addiction, or just simply an activity they enjoy doing.  A study was conducted at Harvard University, people were hooked up to functional MRI machines to scan their brains and see the outcome of when they talk about themselves, which is a main part of what people do on social media. The study showed that self-disclosure information (essentially what social media is for) stimulates the brain in a way similar to food and sex.

 

Social media addiction is also an issue for many marriages. It has been reported by  sociologists and psychologists that excessive use of social media has played a role in increasing the rate of divorces. Researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sherry Turkle, wrote about some of the negative impacts of constantly being connected by technology in her book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. In this book she justifies how the constant connection to technology can in turn make people feel more alone. Considering how 1 in 5 marriages end due to platforms such as Facebook, a social media “prenup” has been created. This prenup differs from a normal prenup because it defines the length of time you can spend on social media, what sites/apps, what you and your spouse are allowed to post, including videos, photos and comments, as well as specific dates. In addition, it entails details who you are allowed to follow, who has the right to know which passwords and will there be joint accounts.

 

As with any other addiction moderation is recommended.  Social media has transformed the lives of many for the better, by creating business opportunities, platforms for education, increased efficiency, immediate awareness of what is going on in the world around us (local, regional and world-wide) and a way to keep us connected to others. However, it is undeniable social media may just be playing too large of a role in people’s everyday lives. If you wonder whether or not you’re addicted to social media, take this quiz . . .

“Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can be great resources for staying in touch with friends, but they should never become a substitute for physical interaction with others.  Unfortunately for many people, checking in on social networking sites takes up a lot of their spare time and sometimes can even become a bit of an addiction.  To help you determine if you use social networking sites appropriately we have put together the questionnaire below. Answer “yes” or “no” to each question and then total your answers to determine if you are addicted to social networking sites.”

– http://www.teenissues.co.uk/addicted-social-networking-sites.html

Questionnaire

Are you a member of multiple social networking sites?

Do you visit your social networking sites with no goal or specific purpose in mind?

Are you usually surprised by how much time you spend on a social networking site?

Have you ever said no to an activity with your family or friends because of social networking sites?

Have you ever ignored a responsibility like homework or chores because of social networking sites?

Do you ever stay up late or get up early to spend more time on social networking sites?

Have you ever hidden your time on social networking sites from family or friends?

Have you ever used social networking sites when a parent or teacher has told you not to?

Do you prefer to interact with people on social networking sites rather than face to face?

Has anyone ever commented on how much time you spend on social networking sites?

Do you have more friends on your social networking sites than you do in your real life?

Do you become frustrated or angry when a social networking site goes down or is unavailable?

If you answered “yes” to between one and four questions then you are most likely not addicted to social networking sites. You probably use social networking sites to extend your relationships with family and friends but recognize that keeping up with these sites are less important than strengthening the relationships that exist outside of the Internet. You are likely to be very choosy about who you are friends with on social networking sites and realize the dangers of allowing strangers to view your personal information. If you continue these patterns you should have no problems with becoming addicted to social networking sites.

 

If you answered “yes” to between five and eight questions then you may be addicted to social networking sites. For the next week try to write down every time you visit a social networking site and how long you spend on it. If you want to, also include information on what you did while you used the site. You might want to take note of any time someone else mentions your use of social networking sites as well. At the end of the week total your notes to determine how much of your life you really spend on social networking sites. You might be surprised by the results.

 

If you answered “yes” to nine or more questions then you are likely to be addicted to social networking sites. Your use of these sites is most likely getting in the way of your real life and you may even be using them as a substitute for getting out and making friends, or nurturing the friendships that you already have. Try to wean yourself off of social networking sites by spending less time on them each day, and more time on activities away from the computer. Join a club at school, take up a new hobby, study somewhere without Internet access or organize an activity for your family or friends.”

– http://www.teenissues.co.uk/addicted-social-networking-sites.html

 

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