6 Signs you are addicted to Social Media.

Addicted to Social Media

Are you addicted to Social Media? Social media addiction is a growing epidemic that is being pushed along by the platforms themselves because the more time you spend on their platform, the more advertising you are exposed to. If you spend more than 30 minutes a day on social media, you may be suffering from an early form of addiction.

The causes of social media addiction have been attributed to a few key factors: new content, instant gratification, and the “Like” button. Simple conveniences that are the root cause of a hidden suffering. Let’s take a quick look into each of these root causes and see if they are affecting you.

Social media loves promoting their endless stream of user submitted content. YouTube alone on average has 500 hours of content uploaded every minute! This means that if they were to hire enough people to monitor all content manually, they you would need 30,000 workers to work 24/7, 365 days a year. That is just the output from YouTube, along with that there are hundreds of other platforms who provide the same.

It is this massive amount of content that excites us and keeps us coming back. This stream of content has gotten to the point where we can put our phones down for one minute, pick them back up, and have something new to look at. With this never-ending torrent of social media content, what better way to engage quickly and simply than with a like.

“The main intention I had was to make positivity the path of least resistance, and I think it succeeded in its goals, but it also created large unintended negative side effects. In a way it was too successful.” –Justin Rosenstein (Co-creator of the like button)

“Likes” have been proven to give dopamine hits when the amount exceeds your expectations. The downside to this is that if you get less than you expect, your mood can shift negatively. If you find yourself posting content to farm likes, hearts, shares, and all other forms of recognition, you may have a dependency on social media to make you happy. This addiction in turn fuels the engine of social media content, creating more, creating more addicts.

The social media form of near instant gratification has led to addictive behaviours forming as natural habits. We are being taught to expect results instantly, and if you don’t get them, you move on to something new. This expectancy of instant results can lead to low moods when attempting new activities that don’t have the same time spent to outcome ratio. This makes things like hobbies, or socialising in the real world, feel slow and monotonous, and overall lowering your mood. Below is a rundown of some simply questions to ask yourself, honestly, to help determine if you are unknowingly suffering from a social media addiction.

“How do I know if I am addicted to social media?”

  • Do you find yourself checking your phone right up until you go to bed and then again first thing in the morning?
  • Do you become annoyed or even agitated when your phone battery is low or dies?
  • Have you caught yourself often referencing other people’s content/social feed in conversation to friends or family?
  • When you hear or feel a new notification, do you feel the need to check it immediately?
  • Are you ignoring your friends or family even if they are in the same room as you because you’re busy on your phone?
  • Finally, do you find yourself constantly distracted and have difficulty completing tasks?

If you need help to figure out if you are addicted to social media, we at Anti-Dose can offer you advice around social media interactions. Both, how to minimise your time invested, and removing your dependency on it.

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I have 10 years personal and professional experience with addiction and I'm one of the counsellors available here at anti-dose. I work extensively in the community, running workshops and educational presentations for clients and staff of community probation service, cads and professional organisations.
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