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SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION SESSION 2019-20

How much time do you spend on social media websites daily? There is
hardly a young person in the world who does not possess a Facebook,
Instagram or Twitter account. We use social media primarily for
communication and entertainment. We chat, upload photos and video
files, read articles about various topics and play video games. The
absolute number of the internet users cannot say how many hours they
spend on social websites per day. They check their accounts
periodically throughout the day trying to read messages from their
friends or look at the new photo uploaded by their colleagues and
relatives. Without question, we waste much time on social media
involuntarily. We check the updates in our Facebook accounts even if
we do not want to do it. Therefore, it is will not be a mistake to claim
that social media websites are enormously addictive. What is more, the
developers and creators of these websites make their projects addictive
on purpose.

Social Media Addiction

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Why are social media sites addictive? The answer is very simple. Their
creators strive to attract more and more users to make Facebook,

Google+, Instagram, YouTube, etc. more popular. How do they manage


to grab our attention? They use various tricks that influence our
psychics. Nearly every social site influences our emotions.

The most popular trick is connected with numbers. For instance, when
we upload a new photo, we expect to receive as many ‘likes’ as
possible. If you think soberly, you will understand that your life does not
depend on ‘likes’. You will not look more attractive if your photo
receives 100 ‘likes’. However, our brain thinks differently. We want to
please and impress our online ‘friends’ and obtain their approval. This
process resembles gambling. When you have received 67 ‘likes’, you
want to increase this number up to 100. Then, you think, “Why should
not I receive at least 150 ‘likes’?” And you continue checking your
Instagram account expecting to receive a new positive comment from a
‘friend’.

The number of ‘friends’ in Facebook or Google+ is another issue. Many


people are addictive to making new and new friends in social
networking sites. You have definitely seen some users who possess
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thousands of friends in Facebook. In my opinion, they try to improve
their self-esteem and self-consciousness with the help of these dry
numbers. Needless to say but you will hardly meet more that 5% of your
Facebook friends in the real life. Thus, the usefulness and importance
of these pen friends is questioned. Sad to say but such ‘friends’ play the
role of a ‘likes’-creating machine.

Another example is related to the number of views. We will hardly watch


a video clip on YouTube if it has not been watched by millions of
people. We begin to enjoy and appreciate a video file if it has been
approved by the enormous number of viewers. If you see that a video
clip has been watched only 146 times, you will not waste your time on
watching it. In fact, very few people realize that many YouTube
channels increase the number of views artificially in order to attract new
viewers. They make money in this way.

Then, nearly every social media website is a bottomless source of


information. There is hardly a person that can resist its power. When we
watch any YouTube channel devoted to animals, we will see dozens of

the similar channels below. Very often, we plan to watch only one video
clip but suddenly another ‘related video’ has attracted our attention.
When you watch at least ten related video clips, you will understand
that you have become the victim of YouTube and its unlimited
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information flow. You have spent several hours on ‘funny animals’ clips
instead of watching the required video on black holes.

Next, such social networking sites as Facebook offer numerous video


games to their clients. Young people are quite vulnerable to such offers.
They begin wasting much time on playing video games instead of

studying or spending their spare time outdoors.

Undoubtedly, the biggest problem associated with social media is the


lack of communication. When you possess an account in social
networking site, you can communicate with your friends and relatives
with the help of instant messaging. However, these electronic methods
cannot substitute the ‘old-fashioned’ live communication. You will not
demonstrate your emotions and body language with the help of stickers
or emoticons. Therefore, I suppose that social media websites separate
people instead of uniting or connecting them.

Social media addiction is a relevant problem that will get even worse in
future due to the rapid development of technologies. People will spend
more time in the Internet and social networking sites. The only way to
resist social media addiction is to train your will and devote less time to
your internet activity.

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Social media and social networking seem to play an imperative part of
peoples lives around the world. There are some who debate whether it
is improving or crippling communication skills. Sitting behind a computer
communicating with cyber friends can be easy and fun but can weaken
a person’s verbal communication skills. I will not only focus on the
negative impacts on communication because there are some positive
impacts on communication through social media. I will explore how
social media and networking strengthens and weakens communication.

For college students and teenagers, social media is a large part of their
life. With access on their phones to sites like Facebook, Snapchat, and
Twitter, social media as a pastime is now starting to become an
addiction. According to Prasad et al., 60% of teens have some form of

social media, their phones pressed against their face because they
need to be connected to the world. Rick Nauert, who has a PhD is
psychology, conducted an experiment researching teens and their
social media addiction, and he noticed that the teens get severe anxiety
when it is taken away from them. Traveling out in public it is easy to see
how many people can not live without social media. Teens always have
their faces in their phones. There are multiple reasons as to why teens
are addicted to social media. Teens are addicted to social media
because of their need for self gratification and pleasure, and this is why
so many are addicted to sites like Facebook. Professors Daria Kuss
and Mark Griffiths believe that sites like Facebook differ from other
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social media sites. The difference is due to the facts that they are a
function of motivation. The difference could be described as the
gratification theory. The gratification theory is a goal directed way for
the purpose of gratification and satisfaction, which are similarities of
addiction.

Social networking addiction is a phrase sometimes used to refer to


someone spending too much time using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
and other forms of social media — so much so that it interferes with
other aspects of daily life.

There's no official medical recognition of social networking addiction as


a disease or disorder. Still, the cluster of behaviors associated with
heavy or excessive use of social media has become the subject of
much discussion and research.

Defining Social Networking Addiction


Addiction usually refers to compulsive behavior that leads to negative
effects. In most addictions, people feel compelled to do certain activities
so often that they become a harmful habit, which then interferes with
other important activities such as work or school.
In that context, a social networking addict could be considered
someone with a compulsion to use social media to excess — constantly
checking Facebook status updates or "stalking" people's profiles on
Facebook, for example, for hours on end.

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But it's hard to tell when fondness for an activity becomes a


dependency and crosses the line into a damaging habit or addiction.
Does spending three hours a day on Twitter reading random tweets
from strangers mean you're addicted to Twitter? How about five hours?
You could argue you were just reading headline news or needed to stay
current in your field for work, right?
Researchers at Chicago University concluded that social media
addiction can be stronger than addiction to cigarettes and
booze following an experiment in which they recorded the cravings of
several hundred people for several weeks. Media cravings ranked
ahead of cravings for cigarettes and alcohol.At Harvard University,
researchers actually hooked people up to functional MRI machines to
scan their brains and see what happens when they talk about
themselves, which is a key part of what people do in social media. They
found that self-disclosure communication stimulates the brain's pleasure
centers much like sex and food do.
Plenty of clinicians have observed symptoms of anxiety, depression and
some psychological disorders in people who spend too much time
online, but little hard evidence has been found proving that social media
or Internet use caused the symptoms. There's a similar lack of data
about social networking addiction.
Married to Social Media?
Sociologists and psychologists, meantime, have been exploring the
impact of social networking on real-world relationships, especially
marriage, and some have questioned whether excessive use of social
media could play a role in divorce.
The Wall Street Journal debunked reports that 1 in 5 marriages are
ruined by Facebook, noting that there appeared to be no scientific
evidence supporting such data.

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Sherry Turkle, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute


of Technology, has written extensively about the impact of
social media on relationships, theorizing that they actually
weaken human ties. In her book, Alone Together: Why We
Expect More from Technology and Less from Each
Other, she chronicles some of the negative impacts of
constantly being connected by technology, which
paradoxically can leave people feeling more alone.

Still, other researchers have concluded that social


networking can make people feel better about themselves
and more connected to society.

Internet Addiction Disorder

Some people consider excessive use of social networks


simply the latest form of "Internet Addiction Disorder," a
phenomenon people first began writing about in the 1990s
when Internet use was starting to spread. Even back then,
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people theorized that heavy use of the Internet might impair
people's performance at work, in school, and in family
relationships.

Nearly 20 years later, there is still no agreement that


excessive use of the Internet or social networking services
is pathological or should be considered a medical disorder.
Some have asked the American Psychological Association
to add Internet addiction to the official medical bible of
disorders, but the APA has so far refused.

A psychological review published in 2016 stated that "studies have also


suggested a link between innate basic psychological needs and social
network site addiction." "Social network site users seek feedback, and
they get it from hundreds of people—instantly. It could be argued that
the platforms are designed to get users “hooked”.

As awareness of these issues developed, many technology and


medical communities continued to work together to develop novel
solutions. Apple Inc purchased a third party application and then
incorporated it as "screen time", promoting it as an integral part of iOS
12. A German technology startup developed an Android phone
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specifically designed for efficiency and minimizing screen time. News
Corp reported multiple strategies for minimizing screen time.
Facebook and Instagram announced "new tools" that they consider may
assist with addiction to their products.In an interview in January 2019,
Nick Clegg, then head of global affairs at Facebook, claimed that
Facebook committed to doing "whatever it takes to make this safer
online especially for (young people)". Facebook committed to change,
admitting "heavy responsibilities" to the global community, and invited
regulation by governments.

Social media use stimulates the reward pathway in the brain, which is
believed to be the basis of addiction.

Social media addiction may present symptoms such as anxiety and


depression.[9] Frequent social media use was shown in a cohort study
in 15- and 16-year-olds to have a modest association with self-reported
symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder followed up over 2
years.

Social media was created to help people maintain connections,


network, and obtain information. Recently, almost everybody has at
least one account on a social networking website. Even people that
have little desire to see the thoughts and opinions of hundreds of
“friends” find themselves creating accounts. This is because nobody
wants to be left behind in our fast-paced, advancing world of
technology. If people’s friends and peers have a social media account,
they are bound to create one as well. Supporters of social media claim
that it improves the social connections of people. “People communicate
and maneuver in these networks rather than being bound up in one
solitary community” (Boase). Social media allows you to interact with
your community no matter where you are or who you are with.
According to social media supporters, connecting with your community
via the internet makes you less lonely. In actuality, social media has
isolated people. Studies have shown that outgoing people become
lonely and depressed due to social media use (Staples.) Frequently,
new relationships are sparked because of networking and mutual
friends through social media. Unfortunately, these relationships are
often low quality. Virtual communication is much less sincere than face-
to-face interaction. Engaging with strangers over the internet can be
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unsafe and leave users with a lack of social skills. Social media can be
a great tool if used correctly, but more often than not, people misuse
and abuse it. Not only is social media often abused and misused, but it
has a gained a blind following. Many social media users today cannot
prove why social media is helpful or beneficial. Instead,those who
support social media want an explanation as to why social media is
bad, shifting the burden of proof to the opposers of the incessant use of
social media. The negative effects of social media outweigh the
positive.

In conclusion, social media is, and will continue to be, harmful, unless
something is done about it. The power it has over people is dangerous
and often goes unnoticed. People should care because if not
addressed, or taken care, of social media could cause national and
international problems. Social media stunts interpersonal growth and
increases narcissism in many internet users. Even if the user is not
psychologically affected by social media, they are still in danger.
Nobody is immune to the harmful side effects social media including
identity theft, stalkers, or hackers. Social networking allows hoaxes and
false information to cause widespread chaos. “The dark side of social
media is that, within seconds, anything can be blown out of proportion
and taken out of context. And it is very difficult not to get swept up in it
all” (Formichetti.) If there are no regulations or limitations on social
media, the repercussions will accumulate. People need to change the
destructive patterns of social media use before it destroys society. The
fast, easy access to information that is supposed to be beneficial to
society is actually detrimental to society.

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