Social Media Addiction

Social media sites are virtual communities where users can create public profiles and interact with other people. Such communities create the illusion of real-life intimacy. Thus, this illusion is a contributing factor in social media addiction. Instagram addiction provides visual stimulation, while Facebook addiction is more about experiential interactions.

What Is Social Media Addiction?

Social media addiction, like Internet addiction, is a behavioral addiction. While social media addiction is not yet recognized by the medical community, most people who are online use social media sites, often for extended periods every day. Thus, social media addiction can lead to cyberbullying, as well as psychologically damaging exposure to inappropriate content. Furthermore, social media addiction often isolates people. Additionally, egocentrism and narcissism have been linked to Internet addiction and social media addiction.

The genesis of social media addiction is Facebook addiction. Facebook currently has more than two billion active users, of whom more than 50 percent log on several times a day. Additionally, 71 percent of teens use Facebook. Therefore, a sign of social media addiction is oversharing on Facebook and other social media sites.

Originally designed for Facebook addiction, the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale is a survey used by psychologists to test for social media addiction. The questions focus on escapism, obsessive thinking about social media sites, an inability to limit the use of social media, and withdrawal symptoms when not using social media. Moreover, like other behavioral addictions, social media addiction can have a negative impact on work, academics, family interactions, and overall social life.

Sources: UCLA’s Ahmanson–Lovelace Brain Mapping CenterPsychology TodayAlliance for Networking Visual Culture (USC)US National Library of Medicine (NIH)Pew Research Center

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