How to educate people on the ills of social media addiction

The trend of checking and scrolling through social media has grown dramatically over the past decade. Social media use is not a problem for most people, but some users become addicted to websites and use them excessively or compulsively.

Psychiatrists estimate that 5% to 10% of Americans today fall into the category of social media addiction. 

As a behavior addiction, social media addiction is characterized by excessive concern about social media, by an irresistible urge to log on and use social media, and by depleting other areas of one’s life to pursue social media attention.

A significant part of social media addiction is the dopamine-inducing and socially stimulating environment provided by social networking sites.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram produce the same neural circuitry caused by gambling and recreational drugs to keep consumers using their products as much as possible. 

According to recent studies, the constant stream of retweets, likes, and shares from social media sites triggers a chemical reaction similar to what drugs like cocaine accomplish. A neuroscientist once likened social media interaction to having dopamine directly injected into your system from a syringe.

Despite the widespread use of social media, very few people are truly addicted. If you have any doubt that someone may develop an addiction to social media, ask them these six questions:

  • Do they spend a lot of time planning social media strategies or thinking about social media?
  • Do they feel a constant urge to use social media?
  • How often do they use social media as a way to forget their problems?
  • Are they often unsuccessful in reducing their social media use?
  • Is it troubling or restless when they cannot access social media?
  • Has social media been detrimental to their job or studies due to their excessive use?

If you answer yes to more than three of these questions, you may have a social media addiction.

The focal point of this information is to help you identify social media addiction and help others around you. The best way to share information is through “word of mouth,” i.e., direct communication between people. You can also share this with others to get them informed.

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