Written by Liliana Kelson, Creative Member
Have you ever seen those intervention shows where the families of addicts set up an intervention with a licensed professional in order to get their loved ones the help they need? Now imagine that for someone addicted to social media. Sounds weird, right? Well, it wouldn't really be weird at all, actually. Social media can be as addicting as any drug for some people. Just like how drugs chemically rewire the brain, increasing your dopamine (“feel-good” neurotransmitter) and making you dependent on them, social media does the same thing. You become dependent on the “high” that you get from scrolling and seeing endless content geared toward you.
Social media addiction can be described as the “uncontrollable urge” to check social media. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans would be considered to be addicted to social media. You may not think your user habits are examples of addiction, but in fact, they may be.
Check your screen time. How long did you spend on social media apps yesterday? Are you surprised at all?
Scrolling does not necessarily affect people like a drug might, so we don’t worry about our time spent on social media much, but any addiction can become problematic. Social media addiction can cause an increased feeling of loneliness, isolation, and negative self-image, all leading to anxiety and depression. An addiction to social media may also hinder your academic or work performance, having a negative impact on your memory and attention span.
Some people may look at social media negatively, but there are some substantial positives to it. It can be a great tool for sharing information and creative content. Social media can be very helpful when it comes to sharing GoFundMe pages or other donation opportunities. It is also helpful in promoting original work and can be a way for people to meet and bond over similar interests. Although this is all true, we can’t forget that its addictive effects can be harmful to the user.
Source: Harvard Business Review
We are so accustomed to picking up our phones to check social media and scroll that we reach for our phones just out of habit. With all social media apps, there is access to never-ending content tailored to us. We know that there will be constant entertainment waiting for us so why not scroll for a few minutes? It's never just a few minutes.