Social Media Became Part Of Our Lives In The New Millennium
As of August 2017, approximately 2 billion people are using Facebook around the world. Other popular platforms are Youtube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Linkedin, Google+ and Twitter with millions of active users.
Social media creates a network of people around the world. Therefore, they are able to share information, career interests and other forms of interaction via virtual communities.
How has Social Media Changed our World?
- the Arab Spring in the 2010s changing the governments of many countries.
- South Korean musician Psy setting a record in 2012 for the most watched video with “Gangnam Style” (surpassed only five years later by “See You Again”).
- Barack Obama’s very successful presidential “social media campaign” back in 20082.
- Anthony Weiner’s use of the social media platform Twitter to send inappropriate messages, leading to his resignation from U.S. Congress3.
The Mechanism of Addiction
Our reward area located in the mesencephalon (midbrain), and its pathways, affect our decisions and sensations. When we experience something rewarding (or use an addictive substance) neurons in the principal dopamine-producing areas in the brain (the VTA) are activated, causing dopamine levels to rise. Therefore, the brain receives a “reward” and associates the drug or activity with positive reinforcement. For this reason, activities which increase dopamine levels are the basis to the mechanism of addiction.
5 Signs That Should Make You Worry About Your Social Media Use
1. Cooking to share on Instagram.
Therefore, if you are spending your time making everything just to share on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, it’s time for you to take a step back and evaluate yourself.
2. Sharing everything you do at anytime.
Do you have friends that you never see, but you know what they’re doing every minute of the day? If so, it is highly probable that you are also someone’s “social media friend”.
According to the author of “The Distraction Addiction”, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, “We are interested in how much we have fun or what we do on social media rather than what we do [in the physical world]”. Of course, we want to share incredible experiences like vacations or concerts with our friends, but with the distraction of a phone and trying to get the perfect snap, are we missing more than we gain?
3. Knowing everything about people you don’t know very well.
According to Pang, the most important indicator of social media addiction is knowing everything about people we know very little in real life, due to social media. Details such as where we sit, what we do, friends, loved ones, what we ate for breakfast are widely available to us. This opens up the door to an intimacy that often is not achieved with real friends. How much we know about someone, without meeting them is actually a sign of how much time we spend on social media. According to one study by Pew Research as much as 88% of teens who use social media personally, “agree that people share too much information about themselves on social media”.
4. Being unhappy, due to comparing yourself with social networks personas.
One of the signs that social media dependence has reached dangerous dimensions in your life is the feeling of jealousy. With the constant access to media, we are now able to follow people on their trips to exotic places, festivals, events. Subconsciously we know that we only see a small fraction of reality online, however, we often choose to ignore that fact. Therefore, if your friends’ celebrations, gifts, homes, cars, wives and even body measurements have begun to cause jealousy, then your addiction has reached a serious high.
5. Being unhappy when you can not reach your phone.
Do you feel uncomfortable when you can’t control Facebook while stopped at traffic lights, or you can’t scroll through Twitter before you go to bed? One study shows that Americans check their phones every twelve minutes, while one in ten checks them every four. When unable to do so they begin to feel anxiety. This just shows how dependent we are, and how social media and technology addiction is a real issue.
Symptoms Of Social Media Addiction
Being overweight and obese
Lack of physical activity
Low success in school and work
Feelings of guilt
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome