What is Social Media Addiction?
Social media addiction is a term that is often used to refer to someone who spends too much time on social media like Facebook and Twitter or other forms of social media. As a result, it affects the person’s daily life.
There is no direct conclusion in determining if someone is a social media addict, however, many physicians have observed similar symptoms such as depression, anxiety, psychological disorders, and more are the proofs of social media addiction.
Similar to Cell Phone and Internet Addictions
Some researchers agreed that social media addiction is similar to cell phone and internet addiction disorder. These types of disorders are not new and people have started talking about it since decades ago.
Even back then, people have said that the heavy usage of internet and cell phone may cause serious problems to work performance and negatively impact one’s life, but there is no official mentioning that social media addiction is a type of disorder.
There are reasons why people are regarding social media addiction as a type of disorder, just like addiction to a cell phone, the internet, and even alcohol.
Every once in a while, when you check updates on social media, or after you have posted something, you want to know who will react to your post. And whenever people give you a “like” or commented something on your post, it makes you feel great. You will feel that you are not alone, you are being connected and someone cares about you.
More importantly, if people “like” or “share” what you have posted, you feel happy as if people agree with what you have posted and they like it. When this happens, your brain cells stimulate dopamine, a chemical released by your neurons to signal other nerve cells that will make you feel good and happy.
This is one of the core reasons causing the addiction. These rewards and the pleasure you receive from using social media will condition and program your mind to crave for more. If it continues over the long term, it will quickly become your habit and the disorder will eventually take place.
Signs and Symptoms of Social Media Addiction
While there is no clear sign of telling if someone is a social media addict from the official medical standpoint, but there are plenty of signs and symptoms that clearly identify if you are addicted to social media.
Some of the signs and symptoms are clear-cut and to the point, while some are more difficult to identify and require effort to reveal.
10 Common Signs You Are Addicted to Social Media
If you want to know whether you are a social media addict, look at how you live your life and how you spend your time.
Social media addiction can be considered a habitual disorder and the signs can be identified from what you do each day.
Below are the 10 common signs of a social media addict. If you are repeating most of these signs below, there is a high chance that you are addicted to social media.
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.
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-girlfriend’s pictures from years ago. Most of these activities are time wasters and they do not add any value to your life.
You checked in everywhere you go.
Do you ever have any friend who wants to snap a picture for every meal he or she has and share it to the social media or try to check in the location? Or perhaps you are doing the same?
Well, it is understood that if you are trying to do this occasionally when you are on holidays, but if you are doing it too often and at almost every location, you may want to seriously consider your own behavior.
A lot of people especially the youngsters will take out their smartphone to take a picture of their food, post on social media and check in the location before they eat. This can annoy those who are at the same table or people who are less privileged to enjoy the food.
You check notifications all the time.
Checking notification can be a normal thing to do when your phone buzz. However, if you are checking it all the time regardless of whether your phone buzzes, you may suffer serious addiction.
People check their phone because they receive notification, and most of the time, the notifications are from social media. Which means to say that these notifications are not really that important in your life.
Some chronic social media addicts will even have imaginary notifications in their head. They imagined their phone vibrates or receives notification, hence they want to check it every minute. This can be a serious issue that needs handle immediately.
You only want to contact and talk to your friends via social media.
This is another sign of showing that you are a social media addict and the disorder slowly takes place in your life. Gone are the days of phone calls and text messages.
With the introduction of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, people may choose to contact you using those platforms and avoid real physical contact.
If you choose to use social media as the only means of contacting and talking to other people, the sign is clear that you are a social media addict.
You constantly monitor the “likes” and “shares” you receive.
As what you have learned from the above that checking social media rewards people because of the “likes” they receive from their friends. And this can be addictive.
The reward of getting “likes” from a picture posted on Facebook means a lot to a social media addict. They are a form of acceptance and quickly become a habit to want to check who react to your post.
The problem will grow deeper when the addict goes into double-figure likes on Instagram or platform.
Craving for internet connection.
The existence of internet is not the issue, the real culprit is that with internet access, people can easily connect themselves to social media. And when there is no internet connection available, the addicts will feel stress and uneasy.
Social media addict cannot live a life without internet, even for just a few hours. They will feel anxiety and choose to enter places with an internet connection.
You take photos of almost everything.
There are plenty of videos and photos that went viral showing someone involved in an accident, but the bystander did nothing besides taking photo or video for social media use instead of helping the ones in need.
This has become a serious issue and society condemns the ethical of the one who chooses to share the incident on social media than giving a helping hand.
If you are taking photos of everything, from the food you eat, the movie you watch, to constantly taking selfies and sharing them on social media, you should keep an eye on your behavior.
Social media becomes part of your life.
Social media has been created to connect people with ease and to build relationships. There is nothing wrong with this, but if it has become part of your life and you cannot live without checking Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, you know that something is wrong.
How much time do you spend on social media each day on average? Do you spend a lot of time on them and they have become part of your life? If so, you need to do something about it and never let this habit grows into disorder.
A clear sign of how social media becomes part of your life can be seen if you have lost interest in other activities and responsibilities. You choose to scroll your phone instead of going out to exercise. You choose to waste time on Facebook rather than washing the dishes.
Checking social media is the first thing you do whenever you are free.
So would you do if you whenever you are free? Do you daydream about achieving your goals and visualize about realizing your dreams? Do you exercise and go for a walk when you have the extra time? Do you call and talk to someone you love? Or do you choose to spend your time on social media whenever you have the free time?
How you spend your free time will greatly determine your life. Downtime should be wisely spent for better and more valuable activities and events, not to be wasted on social media.
While this is not to say that you should not spend any free time on social media at all, but you must keep a close eye on how much time you use up on social media, and not overdo it.