Social Media Addiction
Social media has fast become the cornerstone of communication in the modern digital world. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok provide endless feeds of photos, videos, discussions, news, and entertainment.
According to Pew Research, 69% of older adults in the U.S. use Facebook. Instagram and Snapchat are used by 67% and 62% respectively among 18-29-year-olds. While these numbers may seem high, perhaps even more sobering is that 74% of Facebook users visit the site several times a day even if they suspect little has changed. Over 76% of Instagram users visit the site daily, and 60% do so multiple times a day.
Social media has become the dominant means for sharing our lives with others; however, we often find ourselves lost in countless hours of mindless scrolling, posting, liking, and commenting– often with a significant amount of time spent on site. Is it this endless use of social media truly social or does its addictive potential contribute to an anti-social form of social connection and intimacy?
Social Validation Looping
Here’s the way it works. You post your life and everything you do and wait for friends and followers to like, comment, or re-post what you posted. But Facebook and many of the social media platforms were designed with algorithms that dole out the likes in a variable and unpredictable fashion so you will continue to have a need to check and be on-screen; every once in a while you’ll get a like or comment that provides a small dopamine hit and just like a slot machine, it will keep you coming back for more.
Social media is a catalyst for social comparison and lowering our self-esteem. When people post their positive (often unrealistic) and fabulous lives on social media, we find ourselves craving what they have or worse, judging ourselves for what we don’t have. This form of social interaction offers little in the way of actual intimacy or real social connection and often leaves the user feeling empty and lonelier.
We don’t actually become addicted to social media, but rather we become addicted to the neurobiological changes that come from engaging with it. At the Greenfield Recovery Center, we focus on helping you find fulfillment from other real-time activities as well as making social connections. With our help, you can learn to use social media and other Internet technology in a healthier and more balanced way.
Addictive patterns of behavior
Excessive social media use has been linked to increased anxiety, depression, and reduced social empathy. These are some of the signs, symptoms, and behaviors of problematic social media use.:
- An active pattern of screen use that is impacting you or your loved one.
- The pattern of use may have escalated in time or intensity over 12 months.
- A notable impact in life-balance: including academic performance, occupational issues, personal hygiene and self-care, time management, less real-time social relationships, reduced or excessive sleep, health issues, irritability or anger when access to screens are removed, social isolation, and reduced engagement in previously pleasureful or satisfying activities, and difficulty or failure to launch into independence.
- Life imbalances within any of the following areas:
How we can help
The Greenfield Recovery Center has designed programs to help individuals overcome Internet and technology addiction, including social media. Located on 19 acres of private woodlands, we provide a natural setting for healing and learning how to live a balanced life with technology.
Are you ready to take back the control over social media?
Speak with a recovery advisor now.
Click here to learn how to manage your technology use so it doesn’t manage you.