Addicted to Social Media

By Ryan O'Meara

Why I am Interested in social media addiction

I am most interested in this topic because being addicted to any kind of social media has become a widespread issue that is happening all over the world. I chose this topic because I can relate to this the most out of all the other addictions there are.

The history of social media addiction

Before social media was used internationally by everyone, it was only used by a handful of people who were not social at all. People who used social media were seen as people who liked to be in isolation more, compared to being around people. That aspect of social media is true to this day, but not on such a literal scale. As social media became more and more popular as new apps were created that encouraged communication between others, it grew to something that shut everyone out from actual social interactions. For instance, people became engrossed in a Facebook fight instead of being engrossed in a conversation over dinner.

The biology behind social media

Social Media sites create a dependency in their viewers to keep opening the app to see if there was a new picture posted or if someone else liked their photo that they posted. MIT, the school of engineering says that, "the unpredictability of what that reward will be and when they'll receive it keeps them logged in." The reason behind why people become addicted to social media is psychological. They do not want to be left out - this means people do not want to missing a tweet or a text. Another factor is ego: having an audience or the idea of having other people besides yourself see what you posted drives people to post more.

Present day treatments that are available for those who are addicted

Treatments available for internet/social media addiction are similar to treatments for conditions like depression and anxiety. Cognitive therapy and motivational interviewing also helps with this type of addiction. But the kinds of treatments that are specific to social media are treatments like reducing the time spent on social media. From there, therapists talk with the addicts, discussing the negative affects of social media and address the reasons and triggers that make them addicted to the internet. Symptoms of withdrawal are similar to the symptoms of withdrawal with any type of addiction. According to CBS News, the symptoms can fall into two types of behaviors: an ever increasing need to engage in the object causing the addiction and a bad feeling when not getting enough of it.

Statistics

According to psychiatrist and neuroscience researcher Sean Luo of Columbia University, "3.7 to 13 percent of of U.S. and 10 percent of South Korean internet users express inappropriate internet use." He concludes that at least 1 percent of people who use the internet need treatment. 39,575 years of our time is collectively spent on Facebook in a single day, according to SocialTimes.

What are the impacts of being addicted to social media?

Being addicted to social media is as dangerous and can impact ones life as much as any other addiction. Because you are always attached to your phone or laptop, you miss out on important opportunities and even social connections. It is a shame that social media has made the human race a lot more antisocial than they were before they got attached to twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites. Scrolling through a social media site may lead to a persons happiness dropping due to going onto the site. This drop in happiness can lead to a lower percentage of work ethic and focus throughout the day. In addition to that, social media can make us compare our lives with others'. When on a social media site, one sees updates on what people are doing, have accomplished, or what they look like. This leads the user to feel less of themselves and their life. This feeling is what causes a drop in happiness. Refreshing your newsfeed every second, even at night when you are supposed to be getting a good nights sleep, is not good for the brain cells. Going to sleep at night, and getting enough sleep every night helps brain cells recuperate from a day of intense use. A lot of my friends go to bed late at night because they are on their phones either texting or on social media. Because of that they are much more tired than usual the next morning and are unable to focus. With that in mind, not getting enough sleep each night leaves your body vulnerable to catching a cold or the flu. Being on these social media sites can affect ones brain chemistry, like any other drug. As a human brain builds its knowledge and intelligence, physical experiences and learning from others and things is important to its development. Having our world revolve around our phone limits this experience and according to Neha Saxena of Healthy Dunia, it limits our knowledge base and makes us depend on the internet much more than we need to, resulting in half-hearted motives.
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Is social media setting children up for failure in the real world?

There is a difference between adults being addicted to social media and children being addicted to social media. Because children's brains are still developing and building up information needed for all of lifes processes, it is vital that that development is not stunted. According to Technos Quarterly, media can exploit the brains' analytical and response systems, which means that all of this exposure from media that children are getting is going to harm their decision making skills, problem solving skills, etc. Also, because the media triggers deep sexual, violent, and bizarre emotions, the child will then accept those emotions as a social norm and their rational thought will be damaged. On Facebook and other social media sites, many aggressive cyber fights go on, and a child who sees these fights will then assume that this aggression happens in real life situations face to face. Because the child perceives this, they will develop social distrust throughout their social life. Growing minds and self worth are vulnerable to any obstacle. One of the obstacles is growing up thinking that their number of friends on Instagram, for instance, is how many they have in real life and their self worth will be judged by this. It also creates lack of confidence and self esteem; good amounts of both are vital to creating a personality and good image of yourself. Children growing up with an iPad or tablet put into their hands may think that the relationships they make online are the same as the relationships they can make in person. This leads to a lack of interpersonal skills which are necessary in real life success.

Sources

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Augenbraun, Eliene. "How Real a Risk Is Social Media Addiction?" CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 22 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.


"Teen Social Media Addiction Treatment." Paradigm Malibu. Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.


Bennett, Shea. "Social Media Addiction: Statistics & Trends [INFOGRAPHIC]." SocialTimes. Adweek, 30 Dec. 2014. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.


"Top 10 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health." Degreed Blog RSS. Degreed, 15 July 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2015.


Lowery, Tom. "Why Social Media Is So Addictive (And Why Marketers Should Care)." CMSWire.com. CMSWire, 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2015.


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Hutchings, Emma. "New Social Network For Bros - PSFK." PSFK. N.p., 04 Apr. 2012. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.


Saxena, Neha. "The Smart Disorder!" Healthy Dunia. HealthyDunia, 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.


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