By Mrs. Rachna Mimani, Psychology
More likely than not, you are familiar with the image of a group of friends sitting together, not saying a word to each other, fiddling with their phones. Our addiction with our phones and the digital world has become so all-encompassing that it is no longer humorous.
True, there isn’t any medical recognition of social media addiction as a disorder, but it would be foolish to bury our heads in the sand and say that it isn’t prevalent.
Let’s Define It First
Addiction of any kind is characterized by compulsive behavior. If you feel compelled to do something frequently, it becomes a negative habit which hinders your other activities. A social media addict is someone who has a compulsion to constantly check their social media status, “stalk” others online.
In a recent study conducted by researchers at Chicago University, it was found that social media addiction ranked higher that nicotine and alcohol addiction.
Why the addiction?
It was revealed in a recent study that analysed the MRI readings of a group of people, that disclosing information about oneself can be as pleasurable as food and sex. Communication that is mostly self-disclosure is a big part of social media. But it also has a flip side. Talking about your private life on a social platform can lead to anxiety and other psychological disorders, opine many psychologists.
Impact on Real Life
Social media addiction much like any other form of addiction has adverse affects on one’s personal and social interactions. Marriage and other relationships have been known to suffer from internet and social media addiction. It has been a long held view amongst psychologists that being connected through technology can paradoxically make people feel more alone and lonely.
How do you know that you are addicted to social media?
There are a few questions that you need to ask yourself:
- Do I spend an inordinate amount of time online or keep fixating on using social media?
- Do I use social media as a coping mechanism?
If you have answered “yes” to these questions, you should curtail your online activity and re-engage with the real world.