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How to identify social media addiction

Being connected online is fun but can be a strong addiction of which if one is not careful it can take over their entire lives and fail to achieve much success. Addiction is when one has a compulsive need and behavior that renders them seemingly unable to function without that need. The question that is often raised is “Can a person be addicted to social media”

Addiction happens when your mind develops a strong  need, as noted by Psychology today “neurobiological feature—they intensely activate brain pathways of reward and reinforcement, many of which involve the neurotransmitter dopamine.”  The article as reference from Psychology today gives an in depth analysis on addiction hence we shall touch on how to identify the social media addiction.

Being on Social Medial offers a reward

When there is a drug addiction the reward varies from high ecstasy to seemingly forgetting about reality. The disconnection from reality offers a reward in itself. In this age of the selfie it would seem the reward is the approval by people loosely related to meaning being accepted by people. If one posts a picture of themselves, the expectation is that I must get “Likes” or “Comments” when these do not come our way we tend to ask ourselves if there is something wrong with us or that people are no longer friends with us. Pictures can vary from those of our own to those of what we hold dear to, but the reward is the same, how many likes or comments can I get.

The neurobiologial patterns of our minds over time is wired to expect acceptance and hence it is our fix.

How do you know you are addicted?

There are plenty of questions that you must be able to ask yourselves as you check on your social media habits

  1. Do I post pictures daily of myself or of my family and expect people to comment? When you are posting the pictures who are you expecting to like them, and why?
  2. If people do not like your selfie how does that make you feel, if you do no get a single like?
  3. In a period of 30 days do you post more than 10 times talking about yourself?

Disconnection from Reality

One of the side effects of being addicted to drugs is that of being disconnected from reality.With social media there is always that possibility that one lives for the appearance but never succeeds in their goals. If you are more worried about what is being said on social media than what is happening in your real life you might just be addicted. For example, the feeds that we get are entertaining but have no real impact on our lives, when someone posts “I rode a bike for the first time today” or “My son lost his first tooth today” it might be good to read but with regards to how it affects us or adds value to us we might struggle to compute it.

Being connected on social media is a great thing, we stay informed and connected to our “friends”. Where applicable we get information on the latest products, feedback on events, opinions on what is happening around us or the world. Facebook, twitter and the likes are all great platforms that have enabled business and created relationships.

How do you know you addicted?

Being disconnected from reality can mean a lot of things but we have a few questions to ask which might be eye opening

  1. Is your digital personality more spruced up than your physical personality?
  2. If people met you in face to face, will they still have the same impression as they see on your posts?
  3. Are you as successful as your digital life portrays or do you invest more time in your digital life than your physical life?

Habits that consume your life’s time value

What are your life’s habits and how much time do you spend on them? The compulsion to check feedback on your post when driving, the need to check every reply when you should be sleeping, interacting when you are supposed to be bathing, being led by your phone as you walk; these are all examples of the social media habits intruding on everyday life. The more you focus on social media interaction in the absence of a return of value for your everyday comfort life, you might just be addicted to social media.

There is a difference when social media is your job, then what would be expected is you interacting with clients and keeping the feed running. When it is your job you are expected to spend more time on the social media platforms doing what is necessary. These days you can shop via social media hence when one is in a shopping spree that could be okay unless if you are addicted to shopping which is a different case.

Your life’s habits are critical in supporting your success habits. When the success habits are not matched to your life habits then success is just a dream.

How do you know you addicted?

The joys of social media, when they intrude on your life habits such that you cannot do other things can be a sign that you are addicted.

  1. How much time do you spend reading social media feeds versus the time you spend reading for a skill?
  2. Is social media your walking guide? In other words do you pair up social media habits with such activities as driving, walking, toilet visits, report writing, elevator riding, class listening, meeting attendance etc.
  3. Can you go for 24 hours without being on social media if it is not your job?


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