Addiction to Social Media
Addiction may be referred to dependency on certain things. Anyone may be addicted to the social media and internet depending on how they use it. Currently, everyone is accessing information online. This makes it easier for anyone to print the information accessed and read it at his or her own convenience. As far as accessibility is concerned, digital media has improved technological. A smarter methodology would be how people use the resources available.
Many people think that social media sites such as twitter and Facebook are harmless platforms allowing personal expression and social interaction. Other people think that social media is an entertaining form of engaging with others.
Various studies conducted show that social media can make people to be addicted to it. According to a research conducted by University of Chicago, social media was found to be more addictive than alcohol and cigarettes (Osuagwu, 4). This addiction is compelling the urge of one feeling to be connected to the internet throughout. This urge is satisfied when one logs on and becomes social with other people on the internet all over. Social media desires are hard to control as the internet is easily accessible and people think that it is less harmful than drugs. Additionally, people suffering from low self esteem are likely to be addicted to the social media to sites such as twitter and Facebook. Social media becomes addictive to an individual when he or she checks the Facebook account and twitting regularly. One way to know if the social media has addicted you is the moment you feel worried when you have not accessed either Facebook or twitter.
A research conducted at Cornell University, for instance, showed that half of a class was permitted to use laptops connected to the internet throughout a lecture, however the other half were not allowed to use laptops. Those students having internet connection did worse in the tests as they did not retain the contents of the lecture. This showed how shockingly web surfing would interrupt students. Schools should be cautioned on wiring classrooms with internet cables with the hopes of improving learning (Carr, 2010).
Another study conducted at Stanford University’s Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media Lab showed how a group of researchers gave different intellectual tests to 49 individuals doing a lot of media multitasking. On the other hand, the researchers gave intellectual tests to 52 individuals multitasking frequently (Carr, 2012). The study showed that the heavy multitaskers’ students did their tests poorly. They became distracted easily, they did not differentiate vital information from trivia and these students had minimum control over their attention. These studies surprised the researchers. Their expectations were that the intensive multitaskers’ students would have acquired an exceptional mental advantage.
But this was not the case. These heavy multitaskers’ students were not good at multitasking. According to Carr (2010), Clifford Nass heading the Stanford laboratory stated that everything distracted the multitaskers. Scientists discovered that the human brain’s cellular structure adapted readily to the tools used by humans. These include tools used for storing, finding and sharing information. By changing our mind habits, every new technology toughens other neural pathways and weakens other neural pathways. The cellular variations are continuing to shape our thoughts even if we are not using the internet and technology.
The revolutionary neuroscientist Michael Merzenich believed that our brains were being remodeled massively using the internet and other related media. He was worried on the consequences of the interruptions and distractions created by using the internet often. Michael went on to affirm that the long term effects of these distractions could affect the lives of many internet users. Using the internet encourages everyone to slow down putting them in a continuous mental locomotion state. Using internet scatters the attention of many users while the book focuses on the attention. In addition, book pages endorse contemplativeness (Carr, 2010).
Lisa Merlo a professor in UF College of Medicine stated that even though mobile phones have made the modern life to be more convenient, they have started to interfere with the users lives who do not know when to turn the phones off (Fla, 2007). Talking on a phone regularly might have consequences but being connected and having the urge to know what is happening and being available to other individuals’ leads to phone addiction. Nearly every individual has a mobile phone and uses it often. A number of individuals become worried when they forget their phones or when they are forced to switch off their phones.
Fla (2007) asserted that Merlo said that mobile phone addicts regularly checked their phones for text messages or voicemails. For instance, an addicted mobile phone user may be nervous when his or her messages or phone calls are not answered at the moment. This will affect the user on a day to day basis. A Japanese research showed that young people using mobile phones frequently do not make new friends with other youngsters with no phones. Moreover, a British research showed that 36 percent of university students surveyed stated that they could not survive without using mobile phones (Fla, 2007).
In conclusion, mobile phone addiction may cause brain changes even though researchers have not shown anything that may happen to the brain of mobile phone users. Mobile phones are a great technology and useful but one needs to regulate the time spent when using the phones. On the other hand, to get rid of social media addiction, one needs to keep track of the time spent on the sites such as twitter and Facebook. Scheduling the social media time is a good idea. Additionally, closing down web browsers and removing desktop applications could minimize addiction. Using an alarm clock than the mobile phone will be more effective.
- Carr, Nicholas. “Does the Internet Make You Dumber?” The Wall Street Journal. (2010): Web. 1 Dec. 2012 <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704025304575284981644790098.html>
- Osuagwu, Nnamdi. Facebook Addiction: The Life & Times of Social Networking Addicts. Massachusetts: Ice Cream Melts Pub, 2009. Pp. 4
- Fla, Gainesville. “Addicted to phones? Cell phone use becoming a major problem for some, expert says.” University of Florida News. 2007. Web. 1 Dec. 2012 < http://news.ufl.edu/2007/01/18/cell-addiction/>