The first recognizable social media platform was brought to the world in 1997 with a site called Six Degrees. This site allowed users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. That means social media has been around for over 2 decades. We see it evolving at rapid speed. We see users joining and participating by the minute. I don’t know about you, but in many ways, I feel social media has taken over the world. If its not post worthy, did it really happen?
My first introduction to social media was ICQ, followed by MSN messenger. Since I was a late boomer to getting internet in my home, I was always anxious to visit a friend or hop online at a local library, school, and even internet hub location. I wanted to see what my friends status’s were and who they were talking to. I wouldn’t call this addiction, but fear of missing out as a teen is definitely a real thing that I certainly experienced. As I graduated high school, MySpace was the new big thing. Everyone had a MySpace account. We all worked tirelessly to show off how much fun we were having. Choosing the best music to add to the page. This is when I truly became fascinated and crazed over social media. During College I watched social media continue to evolve, this is when Facebook became the new trend and everyone was using it. As I adapted and got to know and understand all Facebook had to offer, I was hooked. Checking it over and over daily, looking to see photo’s and status updates of friends. Wanting to post and share my life for the world to see how ‘awesome’ I was (or atleast thought I was). Once it became available on my phone, I was constantly online. Chatting, commenting, posting updates, sharing more and more photos.
My question still remains, is social media addiction a real thing?
According to the Addiction Center, social media addiction is considered a behavioral addiction “that is characterized as being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on to or use social media, and devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other important life areas” (Hilliard, 2021).
Social media addiction is very real. The question “do I have social media addiction?” is a question that is likely pondered by many. “This addiction is driven by a neurobiological pathway known as the dopamine system. Dopamine is released when we eat food, exercise, drink or do drugs, have sex, and also when we have successful social interactions. When our body releases dopamine, it leaves us with a rewarding feeling, making us want to do it over and over again” (Annie Hayes, 2020)
To relate this to social media, lets talk about a time you’ve posted a photo on Facebook or Instagram. Once you’ve posted, how many times do you go back again to see if someone has commented or liked this photo? When people do, it makes us feel good and releases dopamine, leaving us with a rewarding feeling. If it is this easy to feel ‘good’, it makes it equally as easy to keep posting photos. Prolonged use of this can lead to addiction leaving individuals constantly seeking that ‘feel good’.
It is important to be aware of the time you, as an individual, are putting into social media use. If you find you are spending to much time on platforms, there are healthy ways to help you reclaim your screen time. If social media has been used to help relieve depression, loneliness, or stress, it may be helpful to seek help from a professional.
Overall, I believe there are many resources available out there to help anyone who may be suffering, even those who may not realize it. There are plenty of online tools to help guide us in the right direction as well as professionals trained to guide us to healthy path of social media use. Have you ever dealt with social media addiction? Or do you know someone who has? I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on what has helped!
Is social media addiction a real thing? Check out my blog here: https://wp.me/p3QRy0-v5G
Social media can be addicting! But can it alter your life and become a true addiction? Check out this blog: https://wp.me/p3QRy0-v5G !
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