Is Social Media Addictive?

We can virtually not picture a life without social media since it has become such an integral part of our daily lives. We may not actively check our usage and the consequences excessive use of social media may have on our life due to the popularity of social media. Around half of the world’s population utilizes social media as of February 2022. This equates to around 3.96 billion users worldwide, regardless of age or internet availability. 

On a worldwide basis, it is also estimated that a user spends roughly 2 hours 30 minutes every day on social media. While many people can limit their social media usage to a manageable time frame, an increasing number of people are reporting an excessive, even obsessive use of social media in ways that are harmful to their health. According to a recent poll by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, roughly 16 percent of Ontario students who use social media spend up to five hours or more online. 

Like all other types of behavioral addictions, so much of using social media can influence your brain in harmful ways and both physically and psychologically. Social Media Addiction is comparable to cocaine addiction.

What is the definition of social media addiction?

Netflix binge-watching? Is it doom and gloom to scroll through Twitter? Spending hours upon hours on Tik Tok? In a world driven by technology and smart gadgets, it’s not uncommon to lose minutes, if not hours, to the internet. Social media refers to the websites and applications that consume up the majority of our time. While it began as a simple method to remain in touch with friends and family, social media has evolved into an almost indispensable part of our culture. Due to the exponential surge in interaction over the previous few years, researchers have dubbed social networking sites a “global consumer phenomenon” (Kuss & Griffiths, 2011)

Social Media Addiction Facts

Here are some of the social media addiction statistics globally.

  • An average person spends nearly 2 hours a day on social media platforms which is up to 5 years and 4 months of one’s lifetime.
  • Nearly 210 million people worldwide are affected by the internet and social media addiction.
  • Especially Teens addicted to social media can spend up to 9 hours a day.
  • Teens who spend more than 5 hours a day on social platforms are twice more likely to suffer from depression.
  • 4 in 10 young adults have insufficient sleep caused by social media addiction.
  • Children start to use social platforms at the age of eight.
  • There are 3.8 billion active social media users.
  • As of 2020, 49% of the world’s population is on social media, and every month, 1 billion people use Instagram.
  • 74% of all Americans log in to check their Facebook account daily.
  • 1 of 3 divorces is caused by social media.

Also, Read – Snapchat Launched ‘Here For You’ Mental Health Program

Social Media Addiction Symptoms

Although social media addiction is difficult to measure, there are certain tell-tale indications – see how many of these signs of social media addiction you have.

How many of these apply to you? Don’t be frightened if you recognised yourself in any of these indications. In reality, many of us would reflect the behavior patterns and habits of someone addicted to social media, all of which are detrimental to our health and well-being.

People may have the following experiences:

  • A strong desire to utilise social media, as well as negative sensations while not doing so, such as significant rage or irritation.
  • Constantly thinking about what they’re missing out on, what others are doing, and how much attention their own stuff is getting.
  • When you are not using social media, you may have psychological issues such as anxiety, loneliness, concern, and excessive seeking.
  • A lack of balance – you tend to spend the majority of your time and thoughts on social media. You may be thinking about it even while you aren’t using it.
  • Distress and obsession cause individuals to go out of their way to obtain social media, either through negotiation or unsafe behavior.

Solutions for Social Media Addiction

Beating social media addiction is not an easy process and it can’t be done overnight; it requires a reevaluation of your digital-life balance. It’s not necessary to give up social media entirely, but it is important to have strategies for setting limits. 

There are some steps you can take to reduce your use of and dependency on social media. Here are the top 4 solutions to overcome social media addiction

1. Remove the convenience – Change a device function

Constantly beeping messages also activate our brain’s reward system, according to research (He, Turel, Brewers & Bechara, 2017). When we get alerts on our devices, it’s difficult to ignore them, which might lead us down another rabbit hole of social media checking. Similarly, the ease with which we can access social media via our cell phones is a large part of what makes it so enticing and addicting. 

According to the same experts that advocate turning off alerts, you should only browse social media platforms on your desktop or laptop because you are less likely to have it on you at all times (He, Turel, Brewers & Bechara, 2017)

2. You don’t have to entirely give it up – just prevent partial access

According to research, reducing social media use without fully eliminating it has several benefits. Researchers recruited 143 undergraduate volunteers and ordered one group to limit their social media use to 10 minutes each day for three weeks to investigate this association between social media and well-being (Hunt, Marx, Lipson & Young, 2018). 

The control group was free to utilize social media as they pleased. In comparison to the control group, participants in the limited social media group had significant reductions in loneliness and sadness. Similarly, the restricted group showed a substantial decrease in anxiety and fear of missing out, which the researchers ascribed to enhanced self-monitoring. 

3. Encourage positive habits – Set aside a certain amount of time each day to utilize social media

Children are getting more and more reliant on social media. Children might mistakenly overstimulate their reward centers, causing them to become less sensitive to rewards. Encourage healthy conduct, whether you’re a parent or not, to train your brain away from maladaptive behaviors and coping methods like social media. Setting guidelines like “no phones at the dinner table” are simple methods to distinguish between true connectedness and online time. 

4. Be honest about it – Talk to yourself and admit that you have a social media addiction.

Admitting you have a problem is one of the most commonly heard statements when it comes to addictions. The same can be true about social media addiction, since talking about it may have a lot of beneficial consequences. It’s critical to talk about why your behaviors are troublesome if you want to change them (Ricci, 2018). This is because discussing and clarifying knowledge motivates most individuals to act and improve. 

Treatment for Social Media Addiction

The first step in treatment is to find whether a problem exists in you or not. If you do not believe you have a social media addiction problem, you no need to seek treatment. Consult with your nearby counseling center or psychiatrist and a few counseling sessions would help the person overcome the addiction. 

The intended treatment outcome and timeline for working toward recovery are highly dependent upon your motivation to change. If you are fully involved in treatment while utilizing doctors’ advice, changing your environment, and mindset, then the treatment outcome is favorable for you.

All of the above suggestions are stages toward a digital detox of social media. The advantages of a complete digital detox, on the other hand, much outweigh those of any of the other suggestions. Only when you eliminate social media from your daily routine do you realize how much more time you have for yourself and how much your mind is freed up.

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