With over one billion Facebook users and 300 million on Instagram, whether you like it or not, its accessibility and increasing importance means social media has become part of the fabric of society.
Just think about how many times in a day you see someone glued to their phone, swiping and tapping away, oblivious .
But when does being an ‘active user’ turn into over-use, reliance, and possibly even addiction? Who is the most likely to fall into a pattern of reliance, and why?
1. How is social media addiction defined?
Like other addictions, Judi describes it as “being unable to stop using it even when you want to.”
She continues: “If we look around we see people either messaging or being alert to online messages most of the time.
“What this means is it might be up to the individual to judge the tipping point where their usage seems to have gone out of their own control.
“One suggestion might be when it has encroached on or even replaced your normal social life. Or when it takes time that you should be spending on your job or family relationships.”
Does this sound familiar to you?
It’s feeling ‘shut off’ from the world when you’re unable to use social media due to power outages, etc.
2. What are the signs?
As with other phobias and compulsive behaviours that get out of control, often marked by high levels of anxiety:
Someone over-using social media might also suffer from increased levels of anxiety. They could also make getting online their sole priority too, doing it first thing in the morning and as soon as they get home after work.”
It’s a need to check emails, tweets, Facebook VERY frequently, many times a day or even many times an hour.
3. What brings it on?
There are few factors which may exacerbate people’s over-use:
For most people its an interest or a hobby and something that can be mood-enhancing.
For some it can become something to use to avoid even the smallest moment of boredom, meaning we’re using it in queues or breaks at work.
4. Who is most susceptible to it?
Between introverts and extroverts .It is believed that extroverts are more susceptible. It’s an extension of people interactions for them.It seems like lonely people are ‘less connected’ online too.