When I wake up in the morning, one of the first things I do is reach for my iPhone, check my inbox of mostly irrelevant mail, then scroll through my Facebook feed. Facebook is my go-t0 social network even though that is losing its appeal as it becomes more personally intrusive with the now required timeline and life story feature. I like to keep my personal and Facebook life separate (though let’s save social media and privacy issues for another day).
I hate to admit it but yes, I have a slight addiction to technology and that includes social media (I’m ironically also pursuing a career in public relations). A quick search on Google points to over- excessive social media usage as a growing problem worthy of being categorized as an “addiction” whose users can display withdrawal symptoms. It sounds extreme, I know. It’s apparently on a different level than the MOUSE acronym used a decade ago to determine if a person was spending too much time on the Internet.
This tech addiction study, conducted at the University of Chicago, tested the willpower of 205 people in Germany when Blackberries were placed in their hands. This study concluded that checking email and participating in social media was harder than cigarettes or alcohol to resist. The study blamed the participants lack of self-control using social media on its high-availability with no price attached. When we go on Twitter or Facebook, see an unread envelope in our inboxes, or receive a text, we feel rewarded,dopamine gets released, and we’re instantly gratified with feeling connected–blame our biology not society.
I wonder sometimes how it would feel to be disconnected from technology and not hear news about someone from Facebook, especially when college students my age are said to be addicted to social media. I’m sure I would panic first (like I do when I can’t find my phone and think I’m missing out on something without it) but then I might be relieved I can be “more in touch” with the world around me then have it pass me by as I text away. I welcome that relieve, however until the day comes when I disconnect for more than I day, I can use these 5 tips to fight social media addiction.