Modern Day Addictions: Social Media Addiction

PUBLISHED ON 18/3/13 ON HITZ247

SOURCE: facebook.com

SOURCE: facebook.com

In the 21st Century, connection with the Internet is unavoidable especially with social media. It’s now officially considered a condition to be addicted to social media; it is being treated and the symptoms recognized.
Imagine walking into the doctor, “Hello doctor, I believe I may have a case of Social Media Addiction.” Is that really what the world is coming to?

Social media addiction: a disease likely affecting millions of individuals all at once, but is hard to define and track due to it’s many forms. The tormented may have symptoms such as serial liking of status or posts, constant Instagram images, “stalking” people’s profiles, or incessant refreshing of the Facebook newsfeed. Those affected spend too much time attached to social media, so much time that it interferes with their aspects of everyday life. The compulsive need to be connected to social media.

Could it be that people are using social media to avoid having face-to-face interactions?
It can be hard to switch off from Facebook, Twitter or blogs. People interact with each other everyday through SMS, status updates, tweets and Instagram snaps. People interact with each other everyday via SMS, Facebook and tweets. One problem with such non-personal communication is that individuals might be losing the ability to interact in person one-on-one.

Studies have found that social media is more addicting than alcohol and cigarettes.
Can you imagine things that were once dominant in society as being addictive and dominant have lost to social media? If people suffering from alcohol addiction attend support groups, and people suffering from cigarette addiction use nicabate patches; then what do people with social media addictions do?

In 2009 an independent study by Retrevo Gadgetology revealed some noteworthy facts about individuals love of using social media:
▪    56% of social media users check Facebook at least once a day
▪    12% of social media users check Facebook every couple of hours.
▪    40% of respondents who said they didn’t mind being interrupted for a message.
▪    2% of respondents who said using the sites was not off limits while eating a meal.

Will people really be up to something exciting every few hours, that you need to check?
I’m sure everyone has heard phrases like, “OMG, I’m tweeting what you just said.” Then you think to yourself really? Why? Who’s following you?
At a restaurant? Oooh, Instagram #foodporn.
Just missed your train? Facebook status that pointless information.
Kanye West said something inspirational? Retweet that tweet.
Researchers have found that social media features can give users a boost of feel-good brain chemicals; that the interaction with other across the Internet gives people a sense of acceptance. People think by random people “liking” their posts they are being accepted. “OMG, Tom Jones liked your post, I knew I was cool.” Even if Tom Jones likes your post, what does it really mean? You don’t even know him, so how can someone you don’t know provide you with acceptance?

There are about 11.36 million Facebook users in Australia and 9.67 million YouTube users, according to the ACMA figures.
That is nearly 50% of the Australian population who have given into the Facebook revolution. Considering the vast age groups living in Australia, it is startling to think how old are the majority of users. Young people and old people alike feel the sudden urge to be accepted. How did people get accepted prior to the Facebook revolution? Where have gone the days where sharing a sprinkle sandwich at lunch insured a life-long friendship?

Teenage girls are more susceptible to the condition.
It is seen that young teenage girls are the most inclined to social media addiction, combined with factors of peer pressure and self esteem issues. Teenagers spend long periods of time connected to their computers and smart-phones. Of course it’s going to interfere with their real social life and relationships with people. It can harm their idea of self-image and identity if they feel they aren’t receiving the response from people online as what they should be.

Treatment, you ask? What can be done to help the sufferers?
1.  First is to recognize that you have a problem.
2.  Think about how much time you spend on social media each day, if you can’t remember then it’s too much.
3.  You need to realize social media is a means of recreation, not lifestyles.
4.  Don’t fret with hard work and discipline you can beat your addiction.
5.  Monitor your usage of social media and the activities you are being involved when you are connected.
6.  Unplug from the computer and phone. Turn them off for selected periods of the day.
7.   Stop procrastination, many times social media is a means of relief or distraction from the real task needing to be completed.
8.  Remove the apps from your smartphone.
9.  Spend more time with people in actual real-life, this will make the transition easier.

It’s time to take back your life.
Remember social media is created to make money, not fulfill you socially or emotionally. Live your life out of the internet world and in the real world. It can be a lot more fun this way. By setting restrictions, we can be less reliant on technology. I challenge us to be the generation that encourages everyone to interact with each other in person, as we do online.

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