Social media started as a way of communication, however, nowadays it’s become a major source of addiction. According to experts, 210 million people in the United States alone are addicted to social media. With rates highest among young people, who can spend up to 9 hours a day on social media. While this should be a major cause for concern, given that spending too long on social media can often lead to a serious social media addiction that can have negative mental and physical health consequences. Many people still do not understand that social media addiction is a real thing.
So, with that being said, let’s take a deeper dive into social media addiction to see why it’s so addictive and what impacts it can have.
Why Social Media Is So Addictive?
These days social media applications are designed to be as addictive as possible – with news feeds that are endless and content that short and sensational. When you are using social media, your brain feels like it’s being rewarded. As social media increases the dopamine in your body that is linked with pleasure. Naturally, you enjoy social media and your brain picks up on these dopamine signals and concludes that you need more and more fun of this type.
However, after a while it begins to become a habit and when you are not using social media, your dopamine levels drop, and your brain gives you a craving to use social media once again to boost your dopamine levels.
Soon enough, thanks to the body’s natural pleasure and reward systems, what starts as a harmless hobby builds over time to become a full blow addiction, with users spending hours on these applications without even realizing it.
Impacts of Social Media Addiction
This behavioral addiction is like any other addiction – like gambling or drug usage – it has the same harmful impacts on the human brain. A lot of people cannot even focus properly because of the addiction. They just want to keep scrolling down these social media applications and keep looking at the pictures, videos, and stories; continuing to receive their dopamine hits. This can result in catastrophic failure for these people as they begin to neglect their work, studies, and relationships. For these reasons, it is very important that social media addiction should be taken seriously.
If you notice you are spending more time on social media than usual, you should begin to limit your social media usage and keep track of how much time you’re spending online.
While social media addiction may seem like an obvious thing to spot, many people still do not understand what social media addiction is and how easy it is to get caught in a negative spiral of addiction that leads to bad life experiences. So, it’s also important to keep an eye on the social media usage of your loved ones, and to advise them to take a break from social media if necessary.