Social Media Addiction Is a Real Disease U.K. Lawmakers Say – Is That True?
Parents and educators in the U.S. are expressing concerns about social media. For instance they are fearful that teens and young adults are showing signs of addiction. In response to these concerns we at NJFAI are researching social media addiction. This article will discuss some of our findings.
Social Media in the News
Several social media companies are in the news. For example Facebook continues to receive a lot of negative coverage. This negative coverage focuses on how their services are addictive and exploitative. Furthermore many believe that Facebook is aware of the addiction. Additionally public sentiment is now that Facebook is intentionally addictive for profit purposes. Moreover many feel that Facebook is exploiting adolescents and young adults for profit. For example Facebook’s main source of revenue is advertisements. Correspondingly Facebook benefits financially for being addictive.
Another media company in the news currently is Google which owns YouTube. There are several concerns with YouTube. First is the design of YouTube. For instance it employs persuasive design elements. For instance a video automatically cues up after one video ends. Correspondingly this means that a viewer has to take action to stop watching. A second issue with YouTube is that it is a forum where videos that can increase addiction are available. For example there are YouTube videos of gamers opening loot boxes that are very popular. These videos likely amplify the effects of video game addiction. Viewers can see someone win an amazing prize and it gives them hope that they can as well.
What Research Says
Ongoing research on social media addiction has produced some interesting findings. For instance studies by an organization found that U.S. teens average 9 hours per day with digital media. Additionally 8-12 year olds spend an average of 6 hours a day with digital media. Even our babies and toddlers are spending up to 2.5 hours per day in front of screens. Equally concerning is that adults average 11 hours per day in front of screens as well.
Clearly people are spending a lot of time online. But does that mean it is not safe? That is one of the questions the University of Pittsburgh has looked to answer. They found higher rates of depression and anxiety among young adults who have high rates of social media use.
Psychologist Jean Twenge studies the impact of social media on psychological development of adolescents. She has found higher rates of depression, anxiety, and loneliness in adolescents.
What Do I Do if I am Concerned About My or a Loved One’s Social Media Usage
If you or a loved one is struggling with using social media please do not hesitate to contact us. You can also read our other content on social media addiction. This is an issue that we are just starting to discuss in the U.S. Other areas of the world, like the U.K., view social media addiction as a real thing.