Social media addiction is a term that is often used to refer to someone who spends too much time on social media like Facebook and Twitter or other forms of social media. As a result, it affects the person’s daily life.
Although there is no official medical recognition on social media addiction as a disease, the negative habit of excessive use of social media has become a subject of much discussion and research.
Addiction simply means a compulsive behaviour that leads to negative effects. And in this case, social media addiction is referring to someone who has a compulsive use of social media. For example, people who constantly check updates on Facebook or “stalking” other people for hours.
However, it is difficult to tell if someone is a social media addict. If you spend a few hours into social media checking updates and reading random tweets on Twitter, does that make you an addict?
Some people claimed that they spend time on social media to read the news and to find entertainment to kill time; they are not addicted to it. So how can we tell if someone is an addict?
At Harvard University, researchers have performed an MRI scan on people’s brains to see what happened when they talk about themselves, which is an essential part of what most people do in social media. The result showed that self-disclosure communication creates pleasure in the brain. In conclusion, it makes people happy and high when they talk and think about themselves.
There is no direct conclusion in determining if someone is a social media addict, however, many physicians have observed similar symptoms such as depression, anxiety, psychological disorders, and more are the proofs of social media addiction.
Similar to Cell Phone and Internet Addictions
Some researchers agreed that social media addiction is similar to cell phone and internet addiction disorder. These types of disorders are not new and people have started talking about it since decades ago.
Even back then, people have said that the heavy usage of internet and cell phone may cause serious problems to work performance and negatively impact one’s life, but there is no official mentioning that social media addiction is a type of disorder.
There are reasons why people are regarding social media addiction as a type of disorder, just like addiction to a cell phone, the internet, and even alcohol.
Every once in a while, when you check updates on social media, or after you have posted something, you want to know who will react to your post. And whenever people give you a “like” or commented something on your post, it makes you feel great. You will feel that you are not alone, you are being connected and someone cares about you.
More importantly, if people “like” or “share” what you have posted, you feel happy as if people agree with what you have posted and they like it. When this happens, your brain cells stimulate dopamine, a chemical released by your neurons to signal other nerve cells that will make you feel good and happy.
This is one of the core reasons causing the addiction. These rewards and the pleasure you receive from using social media will condition and program your mind to crave for more. If it continues over the long term, it will quickly become your habit and the disorder will eventually take place.
If you want to know whether you are a social media addict, look at how you live your life and how you spend your time.
Social media addiction can be considered a habitual disorder and the signs can be identified from what you do each day.
Below are the 3 common signs of a social media addict. If you are repeating most of these signs below, there is a high chance that you are addicted to social media.
Social media is the first thing you do in the morning
What is the first thing you do once you wake up in the morning? If your answer is to check Facebook or update your status on any social media platform, it is a clear sign that you are addicted to social media.
Almost every addict will start their day with a morning routine of checking and pointlessly scrolling through what they have missed on social media after the long hours of sleep at night.
Most social media addicts feel like they have lost a lot of time and are outdated, thus, they want to check the status and see who has posted something new.
You waste your time looking at nonsense and procrastinate
One thing that makes people less productive and accomplishes less in life is procrastination. And social media is a big cause and also the motivator for procrastination.
People can spend hours scrolling mindlessly reading news and updates that have no meaning at all. They can be a form of entertainment, but in reality, most of the things shared through on social media will not do any good to your life.
For example, some people scroll through videos of funny cats, while others “stalk” others and some swipe through their ex-girlfriend’s pictures from years ago. Most of these activities are time wasters and they do not add any value to your life.
You checked in everywhere you go
Do you ever have any friend who wants to snap a picture for every meal he or she has and share it to the social media or try to check in the location? Or perhaps you are doing the same?
Well, it is understood that if you are trying to do this occasionally when you are on holidays, but if you are doing it too often and at almost every location, you may want to seriously consider your own behavior.
A lot of people especially the youngsters will take out their smartphone to take a picture of their food, post on social media and check in the location before they eat. This can annoy those who are at the same table or people who are less privileged to enjoy the food.