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The library of essays of Proakatemia

To what extend is social media a drug?



Kirjoittanut: Merve Sevim Kose - tiimistä Satku.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 3 minuuttia.

A 2012 survey by Common Sense Media revealed that 41% of cell phone owners would
describe themselves as “addicted” to their phones, and 20% of social networkers say they
are “addicted” to their sites. 1 The use of the word “addicted” in conjunction with social
media is quite significant. The relationship between users and the medium is comparable to
the relationship between addicts and their drugs. It is about much more than just spending
too much time scrolling through posts. In a constant state of anxiety, social media users are
driven by a desire to interact with their platforms and often spend so much time online that
it impairs other valuable areas in life. Social media addiction is a threat to mental health
because of the way it distorts reality and disrupts everyday life, often leading to chronic
depression and anxiety in users.
Excessive engagement with social media networks has a detrimental (=negative) effect on
the time users spend off the internet and distorts the way they perceive reality. People that
devote too much time to the internet community lose the feeling of what its like to be part
of society, interact with others in face-to-face conversations, and spend time alone with
something else than their smartphone. They are constantly confronted with the lives of
other people, which are often manipulated to look perfect. This can lead to a completely
distorted picture of their own lives. People who are constant confronted with perfect body
images compare themselves with them instead of realizing that not everybody looks like
that. But not only appearance is judged on these sites: comparisons based on income or
level of education can also lead to decreased self-esteem, when users sense that they do not
fit what they see as the norm.

In the constant search for social validation, social media addicts dedicate their existence to
the online world, which ultimately impairs all other key aspects of life. This addictive
behavior makes the people unable to dedicate their time and energy to any other aspect of
their life. A social media addiction can therefore be just as damaging as a substance
addiction and make people lose their jobs as well as family and friends. They are obsessed
with always wanting to know what is going on in the social networks, looking at what the
influencers they follow posted last, and seeing the reactions their own posts get. These
activities are of upmost importance to them and can easily make them forget the rest of the
world. A notification can easily lead to a missed doctor’s appointment or be a distraction at
work or school. Slowly, they will only live in the virtual world.
Ultimately, excessive use of social media can have a tremendous impact on mental health.
Like every other addiction, the people suffering from social media addiction becomes
dependent on the feeling being online provides. They will only be able to feel happiness
through this one source of dopamine. Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter and makes us
feel pleasure. This will lead to depression, as the amount of joy they get from each like, each
comment and online interaction decreases each time. Another effect on mental health is the
feeling of anxiety. Being mostly active in a community in front of a screen will make those
people unable to feel comfortable around others in society. Over time this will lead to
anxiety when they are offline and confronted with the real world. Another cause for anxiety
is the constant need to check on other users’ reactions to posted content. People suffering
from social media addiction must constantly check how many people liked their posts and
what they commented under their pictures. The feeling of not knowing leaves them feeling
anxious.
Imagining today’s world without social media seems almost impossible, but although it has
brought many benefits, addiction to it can lead to serious issues. Just like any other
addiction, overusing social media can lead to tremendous health problems and destroy lives.
Being under constant pressure to know what is happening online makes addicts distant from
their social environment, running their relationships with people outside of social media. To
avoid this addiction, there must be a balance between online presence and real life.

 

Source:

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/social-media-social-life-how-teens-view-their-digital-lives-2012

Moi! I am born and raised in The Netherlands but my parents are from Turkey, I also lived the past 8-9 years of my life there before coming to Finland :). I am interested in psychology, books & movies. Therefore you could expect a lot more essays about these topics but I will try to integrate writing about Business in the long run...

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