What is social media addiction; You are not the only one who may be on social media for hours. Initially, social networks were established as a way to connect with friends and relatives. But over time, they have become a popular pastime for people of all ages. You may enjoy social media and make time for it every day, but are you addicted to it?
There is no specific method for officially diagnosing social media addiction. But today, overuse of social networks is becoming more and more common and has become a common practice. This use of social networks can threaten the physical and mental health of individuals.
In this situation, you need to know more about the problems caused by improper use of social networks and learn the correct use of these networks.
What is social media addiction?
In recent years, the popularity of social networks has increased significantly. It does not matter what purpose people use these networks for; Connect with friends and relatives, watch videos or even spend time. However, most people, especially children, adolescents and young people, are present in these networks.
The question is, how does a seemingly harmless pastime turn into an addiction?
Like other behavioral addictions, using social media can have a negative effect on your brain. Excessive use of social networks can be a form of coercive behavior. In fact, such people are so used to following posts, pictures and videos that they can not give up, and this behavior has interfered in other areas of their lives.
Experts estimate that more than 10% of people are addicted to social networks, given the general use of them. Of course, not everyone who uses social media is addicted, but more and more people are joining these networks every day, and this can cause more people to become more addicted to social media.
Why are social networks so addictive?
While social media seems to be a relaxing pastime, there are no consequences for using it, but it does have a significant effect on the brain.
Dopamine release in your brain increases when you log in to your favorite app. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that increases pleasure in the brain. When dopamine levels increase after being on social media, the brain recognizes this activity as a valuable activity that you should repeat. This brain response is especially noticeable when you post yourself and receive positive feedback.
The positive emotions you experience when you are on social media are fleeting. The way your brain chooses to reinforce these positive emotions can be seen in other addictions as well. Therefore, with a gradual decrease in dopamine and positive emotions, you will return to the source of this increase to increase them again, which is what social media means here.
If you have to be alone because of a particular job or illness, you may use social media to create distractions so that your mind is a little distant from the situation you are in. The further you go, the more your brain motivates you because it has identified this activity as a way to reduce the effects of loneliness, which may be a misdiagnosis.
What are the harms of social media addiction?
If you do not use social networks too much, you are unlikely to experience negative effects, but when you are too much on these networks, you have to wait for the consequences. This misuse can cause the following damage;
- Low self-esteem due to a misunderstanding. The result of this misunderstanding is the perception that others have a better life than you.
- Increased sense of loneliness and isolation
- Anxiety or depression
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Fear of losing opportunity (FOMO) which can lead to more use of social networks.
- Disorders in sleep patterns, especially if you use social media in the late hours of the night and before bed.
- Decreased physical activity that can threaten your health.
- Poor job or academic performance
- Ignore relationships in real life
- Inability to understand the feelings of others
How to diagnose social media addiction?
A mental health professional can help you determine if you are addicted to social media or just enjoying it. Of course, there are fundamental differences between an addiction and a pleasurable habit. If you experience the following symptoms in yourself, this behavior is addictive, not a pleasurable habit.
- Excessive use of social media has had a negative effect on your work or education. For example, at work or instead of doing homework, you use your favorite apps.
- You also use these networks during other activities such as socializing with friends and other family members or while eating.
- You rely too much on social media to solve problems or cope with them.
- When you can not use these networks, you lose your composure and become irritable.
- If you have trouble using social media, you get angry.
- When you are not using social networks, you think about them and you are looking for the first opportunity to be on these networks.
How can you reduce your use of social media?
If you’ve become addicted to social media or are more involved than you need to be, the good news is that there are ways to help you reduce the use of social media by following them. Use the following tips to help you balance your use of social media;
- If you have access to social networks from your computer, delete those networks from your mobile phone.
- Turn off your cell phone at work or school, and when eating out or engaging in recreational activities. You can also turn off notifications by changing the settings in the apps you use.
- Schedule a time to use social media and set aside only a certain amount of time each day. You can use the timer to manage the set time.
- Take your cell phone, tablet and computer out of the bedroom.
- Choose a new hobby that is not technology related. Sports, art and cooking are good options.
- Plan for face-to-face relationships with friends and relatives. Visit them at a pre-arranged time and place.
It is also important to stop using social media on a regular basis from time to time to experience more real-life aspects. The length of this break depends on your needs; One day a week, a full month or even more.
A few key points
Social networks are becoming more and more widespread today, but these conditions should not make social media addiction a routine. By taking frequent breaks and setting clear boundaries for yourself and your children, you can prevent severe dependence on social media before causing harm.
If you think you may be addicted to social media, there are some treatments that can help improve your mood. Do not hesitate and see a mental health professional to help you treat this type of addiction.