Coming to terms with social media addiction

One item that everyone has on them at all times is their phones. Cell phones have become society’s source for not only communication but information and entertainment. This issue is so prevalent that many articles and studies have come out in recent years stating that people have become dependent on and, in some cases, addicted to their phones. This is a misunderstanding of the situation. People have become addicted to social media and other platforms that can be accessed on the internet. Instead of limiting phone usage, people should be mindful of what they use their phone to access.

Phones are a vehicle for addiction. A person can develop an addiction for many reasons, but oftentimes it’s due to the positive or rewarding feelings that come from a behavior. While looking through likes, retweets and follower counts on social media, dopamine is released, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays an important role in a person’s ability to feel pleasure. The feelings of gratification do not come from the physical phone itself but from the information that’s on the phone. There have been numerous cases where people have performed outrageous acts because they couldn’t be on social media. There was an instance where a woman called the police because her Instagram account was deleted. Her reasoning was that her Instagram getting deleted felt like murder because she had put so much time and effort into her account. She had become addicted to the likes and followers that the loss of her account was the last straw.

Social media and other places on the internet are the root cause of the addiction. Instead of detoxing from their phones, people should detox from the gratification that comes from receiving likes on social media. Muting notifications or deleting addicting apps can help lower a person’s chances of mindlessly scrolling through their phone. One could even take this detox a step further by deleting some of the more tempting apps, effectively eliminating the need to check them multiple times a day.

The convenience of a phone makes it easier to stay connected to a person’s temptation at any given moment. The phone is a way of constantly staying connected to the likes, retweets and follows. Without it, it would be nearly impossible to get the same instant gratification that comes from easy access of apps on the phone. 

Phones are not the cause of addiction but rather phone addiction is a symptom of a larger problem. Addiction can come from anything so it is important for people to be mindful of what they consume. A detox from both could be beneficial, but it is up to the person to seek help.

 

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