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Effects Of Social Media Addiction

How Many Social Media Accounts Does The Average Person Have

The CURE to Social Media Addiction | Its Not What You Think

Its very unlikely you have just 1 social media account.

There are thousands of social media apps and platforms all over the world. They are all constantly fighting for your attention.

The average person has 8-9 social media accounts. This has doubled since 2013, when the average person just had 4-5 accounts.

Year Average Number of Social Media Accounts
2018 8.5

The number also varies significantly depending on the country.

You Waste Your Time Looking At Nonsense And Procrastinate

One thing that makes people less productive and accomplishes less in life is procrastination. And social media is a big cause and also the motivator for procrastination.

People can spend hours scrolling mindlessly reading news and updates that have no meaning at all. They can be a form of entertainment, but in reality, most of the things shared through on social media will not do any good to your life.

For example, some people scroll through videos of funny cats, while others stalk others and some swipe through their ex-girlfriends pictures from years ago. Most of these activities are time wasters and they do not add any value to your life.

Social Media Addiction Scale For Adolescents

This scale was developed by Özgenel et al. with the aim of determining adolescents levels of social media addiction. The scale consists of a single factor and includes nine items. The highest score that can be obtained from the five-point Likert-type scale is 45, while the lowest score is 9. It can be said that adolescents social media addiction is greater as scores obtained in the scale increase, while as scores decrease, their level of addiction is lower. The Cronbach alpha internal consistency reliability coefficient of the scale is 0.904. In this study, however, the Cronbach alpha value was found to be 0.880.

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Why Is Smartphone Addiction Or Social Media Addiction Particularly Relevant And Why Especially Now

First of all, smartphone or social media addiction is relevant to some extent to anybody who owns a smartphone or one or more social media accounts.

Why do I say that?

Simply because if smartphone addiction is the extreme on a sliding scale of technology usage, and has a negative effect on our mental health , to an extreme extent then we can extrapolate and state that smartphone overuse has a negative effect on any of us who use our smartphones or social media more than we would like to.

Now, unsurprisingly, device usage worldwide had already been steadily on the rise for years prior to the events of 2020.

Daily per capita internet usage worldwide 20112021

Adding to that, after the first quarter of 2020 and extending into 2021 were all using our devices and the social modes of communication they provide us with more than ever.

What is the effect that the current covid-19 crisis and lockdowns are proven to have on our device usage? What one would expect, is the following:

  • The covid-19 crisis in itself is stressful for many people across the world
  • Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns cause people to work and leisure from home at unprecedented levels, which leads to more technology usage
  • The stress from covid-19 is multiplied by the stresses of information overload and other negative effects of digital technology.
  • Social Media And Relationships

    Negative Effects of Social Media Addiction

    While social media can promote healthy relationships and communication between family, friends, and acquaintances, significant social media use can also alter familial relationships and behaviors.

    Out of all age groups, teenagers are most susceptible to social medias destructive and addictive nature with excessive usage. This age group is also vulnerable to feelings of social isolation and depression from the social comparison that social media fosters. This can further manifest itself in family relationships and communication between parents and adolescents.

    Most families these days provide their children with technological devices like cell phones or tablets, allowing them to connect to social media early on. Some families even communicate through social media messages within their households, which can create complex relationship structures within a family.

    Brigham Young University posted a Masters thesis from one of its students. The author analyzed the impact of digital attachment and social media on users offline interpersonal relationships and emotional well-being.

    Results showed that the longer someone would spend on social media, the more likely they were to experience decreased quality in their personal relationships and see a negative impact on their emotional well-being.

    Excessive social media users most common negative emotional effects included depression, frustration, and social comparison.

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    So How Can Parents Recognize When Their Teen Is Overdoing It Heres How To Tell

    • A teen spends increasing amounts of time online scrolling through social media.
    • When not on their phones or other devices, teens are preoccupied with thoughts of getting back online.
    • Teens have trouble cutting back on social media time, even when you limit their use.
    • They lie about the amount of time they are spending online.
    • Your teen shows signs of anxiety and/or depression after spending time online.

    The Effects Of Social Media Addiction

    Social media can be addicting in many ways. It provides a way for people to connect with others, and it can be fun and entertaining. But social media can also be addictive in that it can provide a sense of validation, connection, and community. For some people, social media addiction can become an all-consuming habit that takes away time from other activities, causes anxiety and depression, and can even lead to addiction.

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    Behavioral Addiction: Types And Examples

    Individuals can form behavioral addictions similar to a dependence on drugs and alcohol to combat anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders. Increases in drug and alcohol use have signaled that many people are abusing harmful chemicals however, some dont factor in non-substance addictions like food, sex, phone, video game, or gambling addiction, which often manifest as a behavioral addiction due to underlying mental health challenges. Those who become addicted to specific activities seek out feelings of comfort, happiness, and chemical releases or can form behavioral addictions to escape reality or painful emotions. Some of the most common types of behavioral addictions are:

    • Sex
    • Binge eating/food addiction
    • Thrill-seeking activities

    Although these are the most common types of behavioral addictions, compulsive stealing , love and relationship addiction, overworking, compulsive skin and hair picking, and excessive television use and exercise are also listed as behavioral addictions.

    Addiction Center is not affiliated with any insurance.

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    Facebook Addiction Linked To Brain Reward And Gratification

    Digital First: Effects on social media addiction, “doomscrolling”

    With more than 2.9 billion users globally, Facebook is the most widely used social media site, and some studies indicate that Facebook addiction might be a subtype of Internet addiction. Two basic social needs drive Facebook overuse.

    According to a study published in Personality and Individual Differences, these two needs are the need to belong and self-presentation. This need to belong is associated with external demographic and cultural factors, while the need for self-presentation relates to internal psychological processes.

    Facebook activity that creates self-exposure can increase dopamine, which, in turn, generates a desire to use Facebook more and more. This dopamine reward system is also at play in other types of addictions, according to a study in the journal Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health.

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    How Much Time Do People Spend On Social Media

    Today the average time spent on social media is 2 hours and 24 minutes today for people aged 16 to 64.

    That means the average person spends 144 minutes a day using social media.

    When you multiply that out over the month You find out that the average user spends 72 hours a month just on social media.

    This might seem like a reasonable number but what if you calculate how much of your life in total will be spent on social media?

    The current global life expectancy in 2021 is about 73 years. If someone signs up for a social media account when they are 16 and lives until they are 73, they will spend a total of 2,995,920 minutes on social media.

    That equates to be 5.7 years of your life dedicated to social media!

    That is a long time to dedicate to anything, let alone a social media platform. Social media addiction is certainly a real thing and it can easily creep up on you.

    Are You Addicted To Social Media

    Smartphones, Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media technology help you stay connected. Youre born with the drive to connect with others. Its good for your physical health and psychological well-being.

    But what if you find yourself becoming too connected to social media?

    Theres growing evidence to suggest that some individuals can develop a dependency on social media thats not unlike an addiction to alcohol or drugs, says Paul G. Simeone, Ph.D., Vice President and Medical Director of Behavioral Health at Lee Health. Their overdependence on social media has led to symptoms typically associated with substance-use disorder.

    In fact, there are now therapeutic programs in psychiatric hospitals and behavioral health clinics across the U.S. dedicated to treating social media addiction as another compulsive disorder.

    A 2019 survey found that 40 percent of U.S. online users aged 18 to 22 years reported feeling addicted to social media. Five percent of respondents from that age group admitted the statement I am addicted to social media described them completely.

    The findings correlate with another study that reported 4.1 percent of boys and 3.6 percent of girls who are intense social media users display internet addiction.

    Simeone cautions that because social media technology is new, research is just emerging that people may form addictions to social media.

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    Social Media Is The First Thing You Do In The Morning

    What is the first thing you do once you wake up in the morning? If your answer is to check Facebook or update your status on any social media platform, it is a clear sign that you are addicted to social media.

    Almost every addict will start their day with a morning routine of checking and pointlessly scrolling through what they have missed on social media after the long hours of sleep at night.

    Most social media addicts feel like they have lost a lot of time and are outdated, thus, they want to check the status and see who has posted something new.

    Helping A Child Or Teen With Unhealthy Social Media Use

    Social Media Addiction: Negative Effects on Mental and Physical Health

    Childhood and the teenage years can be filled with developmental challenges and social pressures. For some kids, social media has a way of exacerbating those problems and fueling anxiety, bullying, depression, and issues with self-esteem. If youre worried about your childs social media use, it can be tempting to simply confiscate their phone or other device. But that can create further problems, separating your child from their friends and the positive aspects of social media. Instead, there are other ways to help your child use Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms in a more responsible way.

    Monitor and limit your childs social media use. The more you know about how your child is interacting on social media, the better youll be able to address any problems. Parental control apps can help limit your childs data usage or restrict their phone use to certain times of the day. You can also adjust privacy settings on the different platforms to limit their potential exposure to bullies or predators.

    Talk to your child about underlying issues. Problems with social media use can often mask deeper issues. Is your child having problems fitting in at school? Are they suffering from shyness or social anxiety? Are problems at home causing them stress?

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    Children Are Developing Concerning Social Media Habits

    The biggest growth in social media is with young children.

    On average children spent 76% longer on social media apps in 2020 than they did in 2019. The more time children spend on social media now the more likely they will be addicted to it in their teenage years.

    27% of children who spend more than 3 hours a day on social media display poor mental health. This means that your child has a significantly increased risk of developing mental health issues if they use social media for more than 3 hours per day.

    Videos seem to be the most engaging thing for children on social media.

    These platforms prioritise video content significantly and are very good at working out what content engages the user most so they can simply show more of it.

    What Does Addiction Do To The Brain

    Addiction impacts the brain on many levels. The chemical compounds in Stimulants, Nicotine, Opioids, alcohol, and Sedatives enter the brain and bloodstream upon use. Once a chemical enters the brain, it can cause people to lose control of their impulses or crave a harmful substance.

    When someone develops an addiction, the brain craves the reward of the substance. This is due to the intense stimulation of the brains reward system. In response, many users continue use of the substance this can lead to a host of euphoric feelings and strange behavioral traits. Long-term addiction can have severe outcomes, such as brain damage, and can even result in death.

    How Addiction Affects The Brain

    Dr. Ashish Bhatt, MD explains how addiction affects the brain, and how different substances can alter the brains chemistry.

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    Effects Of Social Media On Mental Health

    In his 2021 Protecting Youth Mental Health advisory, the U.S. Surgeon General warned the American public of a mental health crises among young adults caused in part by their overuse of social media. He cited several studies about the harms of social media, many of which argue that digital technologies can lead to depression, anxiety, and self-harm.

    Its essential to understand the potential effects social media use can have on the mental health of your child or teenager.

    Whats Driving Your Social Media Use

    Overuse of social media can impact mental health

    These days, most of us access social media via our smartphones or tablets. While this makes it very convenient to keep in touch, it also means that social media is always accessible. This round-the-clock, hyper connectivity can trigger impulse control problems, the constant alerts and notifications affecting your concentration and focus, disturbing your sleep, and making you a slave to your phone.

    Social media platforms are designed to snare your attention, keep you online, and have you repeatedly checking your screen for updates. Its how the companies make money. But, much like a gambling compulsion or an addiction to nicotine, alcohol, or drugs, social media use can create psychological cravings. When you receive a like, a share, or a favorable reaction to a post, it can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, the same reward chemical that follows winning on a slot machine, taking a bite of chocolate, or lighting up a cigarette, for example. The more youre rewarded, the more time you want to spend on social media, even if it becomes detrimental to other aspects of your life.

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    Other Related Health Issue

    Apart from all that being mentioned, there will be other related health issues such as blurry vision due to strain eyes as the result of long hours watching the screen.

    And if you are using social media from a cell phone, you may suffer back and neck pain issue as you have to consistently bend down your neck to look at your phone.

    Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition due to compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel. This is due to long hours of repeating the same movement with your hands and arms, especially when you use your phone or face the computer over a long period.

    Experts have also found that people who face computer screens and their phones over long hours may cause headaches at times.

    Besides, if checking social media is the first and the last thing you did before bed, this routine will disturb your sleep and cause you to suffer side-effects from sleep deprivation.

    Social Media Addiction Scale

    The Social Media Addiction Scale was developed by Tutgun-Unal and Deniz to measure the social media addiction of university students . The SMAS consists of 41 items, and scores were obtained from a 5-point Likert scale, which is graded with frequency expressions within the range of Always ,Often ,Sometimes , Rarely to Never , indicating that the higher point value indicates more social media addiction . A brief description of the factors that make up SMAS and the items included in these factors are as follows: items 112 in the measurement tool are related to the Busy dimension and measure the effect of social media in which a person is engaged items 1317 are related to the Emotion and Regulation dimension and measure social medias influence on ones emotions items 1822 are related to the Repetition dimension and measure the inability to control the use of social media and the repetition of usage of the platform and items 2341 are related to the Conflict dimension and measure the effect of social media on the negative consequences of a persons life. The Cronbach alpha value of the scale was found to be highly reliable, with a value of 0.967 .

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    How Can I Address A Video Game Addiction

    If you know its time to overcome video game addiction or help someone whos struggling with it, there are many resources available to help you get started. There are programs all over the country, as well as in-person and online support groups which are dedicated to helping people break free from addiction to video games.

    Addiction Center is not affiliated with any insurance.

    The first step to ending video game addiction is to put the controller down and step away. This can be difficult, which is why many video game addicts made a successful recovery only when they discard their gaming equipment or go away on a wilderness retreat. A severe problem with video games might require drastic solutions. A video game should not be the center of anyones life, but if it is, there is hope for getting unshackled from the screen.

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    Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional: August 26, 2019

    Theresa Parisi

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