Do you find yourself often checking your social media, losing several hours screening your timeline? Or even scrolling it after you wake up? If the answer is “Yes”, you probably get social media addiction.
Don’t panic, you are not alone. In today’s society, people are too busy to spend their time on social media. Wherever you get going, you will easily find everyone has their eyes glued to their smartphone. This activity is getting more popular and common over the last decade. Although the majority of people’s use of social media is non-problematic. However, the total time spent on social media is quite worrying.
Cited from Forbes, Nigeria spends the most time on social networks per day, about 4 hours and 49 minutes. Then, it is followed by Philippines, South Africa, Brazil, Columbia, Ghana, Mexico, Kenya, Argentina, and the last is Indonesia (3 hours and 39 minutes). According to the report, on average, internet users spend 2 hours and 29 minutes on social networks worldwide. Meanwhile, Gen-Z spends about 4.5 hours scrolling their social media.
What is social media addiction?
Social media addiction is a behavioral addiction when people are overly engaged on social media. This addiction can’t be underestimated. The user will spend many hours scrolling on social media timeline. Just like glue, they had their eyes staring at their phones even if there was no urge there. In fact, psychologists estimate that 5 to 10% of Americans meet the criteria for social media addiction today. Even though social media overuse has become more common today, it can cause serious impact to your mental health. Research claims that social media addiction can cause severe depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation and self harm in all age groups.
The sign of addictive behavior
Are you addicted to social media? Let’s find out the characteristics. According to the studies conducted by Mark D. Griffiths, there are six core addictive behavior components:
- Mood modification: It happens when your mood changes depending on what you see in your timeline.
- Salience: The behavioral, cognitive, and emotional preoccupation with social media.
- Tolerance: When you keep tolerating your increased time of using social media.
- Withdrawal: The uncomfortable feeling when you are not engaged with social media.
- Conflict: Dealing with problems because of social media (i.e. you become more lazy in doing your homework.)
- Relapse: Quickly revert back to the overuse habit after abstinence period.
The signs of social media addiction can be seen through the changing behavior. You can recognize the sign of addiction through the point below:
- Spending more than 4 hours on social media daily.
- You want to share everything in your social media.
- Overthinking about what you are posting.
- Being anxious if you are not checking your social media. So, you always want to access it.
- You start to ignore real life, even in the public area you still scroll your timeline.
- Difficulty conversing outside of social media
The reason behind social media addiction
Social media is a fun place to kill time. Moreover, the unlimited scroll makes us want to see more and more, craving for something new. Social media raises our curiosity. From just a photo, we will head through their profile and checking the latest activity. Basically, social media is like a huge playground where we can meet everyone within a click. We also can share our moments and interact with people who react to our post.
Little did people know, a relaxing feeling when you scroll social media actually has a significant effect on your brain. Whenever you scroll your timeline, or see a pop up notification (i.e. like, comment, and message) – The dopamine signals in your brain increase. These neurotransmitters associate with pleasure.
So basically, you will feel happy with the interaction in social media. Let’s jump to a case study to make it clear. When you receive likes from others, it increases your self-confidence and you feel loved. Whenever someone leaves a comment, you feel that they care about you. Those kinds of feelings make you happy. Because your brain identifies this activity as a rewarding one that you ought to repeat. Moreover social media is connecting you with many people. So, it is like receiving a mass affirmation through what you post. In this case, the positive reinforcement is the addiction. Rather than doing something you like, you will stick for hours on social media to raise the dopamine.
Social media addiction will become a great distraction for your life. Especially, when you have many things to do (i.e. work, school, homework). As an impact, it will hold you back from becoming productive. You will end up wasting your time just scrolling without doing any significant things in your life. To some extent, you will feel alone and isolated from the “real world”.