On the night of my first Media and Society class, my instructor Ann, sternly stated (while going over the class syllabus) that we were not to use our, smart phones, computers, etc. for personal use only class related reasons or taking notes. No social media networks, tweeting or sending messages. I found myself thinking this is an adult college program; why was it necessary for her to tell us that? Is there a problem here that required such a statement? Ann then asked how many of us use “Social Media” (that is what the class is about, media and its effect on society) what we use it for, how often we use it and if we ever turned our connection off. When I heard some of the answers I was concerned. Several students admitted that they would check their Facebook or Twitter accounts constantly, some said even throughout the night. I wondered, what are “we” doing to ourselves and others with this obsessive need for social media?
It is true that social media has become an important part of most people’s lives. It is a recognized part of our culture no matter what it is used for. Billions of people around the world use it for communication, entertainment and information every day. They keep in touch with family, friends, the latest trends, local happenings and make good use of the social media’s. The majority of people have no problem controlling their usage, but from some it has become a real problem. Some people start withdrawing from the real world and spend hours on end absorbed in their social media. Others have let it take over their daily lives with constant interruptions. I believe that excessive use of social media has allowed for people to develop unhealthy habits, much like an addiction, for some I would even call it an addiction.
When I started researching the matter of what I consider “excessive social media usage”, what I found out did not surprise me. “As many as 1 in 8 Americans suffer from problematic social media usage,” according to Stanford University,” not only are people obsessed and over use it, but they are actually becoming addicted. There are several online social medias that people are becoming addicted to; the five most prevalent are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Dating sites and online gaming, in particular Warcraft. Anyone who has access to technology, a computer, smart phone etc. and access to the internet is at stake in this new-aged addiction, regardless of age, race or gender. Social Media Addiction is now being recognized as a psychological disorder all over the world, not just here in the U.S. In the 90’s studies were focused on Internet Addiction (IA), but the new decade with its advances in social media sites have now added yet another addiction to study.
Facebook seems to be the number one social web site that has the highest addiction count. Facebook has 800 million active users, two billion posts are liked and commented on per day and approximately 10 billion minutes (all together) are logged on the site each...