Negative Effects of Social Media:
Abuse and Addiction Associated with Social Media
English 1302, T-TH 5:30
Professor F. Dziadek
November 25, 2014
20 November 2014
A Call to Acton:
Regulate the Use of Social Media
Statistics show, each year 700 billion minutes are spent on Facebook alone, with a normal person spending approximately 15 hours a week, not attempting to calculate the time spent checking emails, playing video games, or just surfing the web. Social media is all encompassing between technology, including video games, virtual worlds, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and even YouTube. Many dangerous are associated with this condition ranging from numerous disorders such as depression or social anxiety and shockingly even a number of recorded deaths. Though technology has become a predominant part of our life, regulation or moderation is necessary because social media abuse has become more common leading to clinical depression, social anxiety, and a number of recent discoveries including (SMAD) Social media anxiety disorder and (IAD) Internet Addiction disorder.
Why do individuals feel the need to share every detail about their personal life on social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook? This is the primary question being researched at Harvard University, attempting to learn more about how this affects the brain, and what motivates those who are involved in the study. Studies prove the direct relation between social media abuse and the “addiction chemical” known as dopamine, and the effects that it has on the brain. This response, which is triggered, provides the same reaction as “positive activities” such as making money, eating food, or even sexual intercourse. To monitor the reactions they used advanced equipment such as a MRI machine to scan and locate the specific part of the brain that deals with this response. Researchers noticed an increased amount of abnormal activity in the frontal cortex region of the brain, the area located directly behind the eyes. This indicates an altered chemical state as compared to other forms of addiction such as heroin or alcohol abuse, providing similar results. A secondary experiment was preformed providing similar results showed that individuals gain a sense of reward when sharing a personal accomplishment, task, or ideas with others, proving empathy plays a major role in this category. Diana Tamir, the lead researcher concluded, “ I think the study helps to explain why people utilize social media websites so often. I think it helps explain why Twitter exists and why Facebook is so popular, because people enjoy sharing information about each other.
One result from the extensive studies was the discovery of the psychological disorder known as Internet Addiction Disorder or (IAD). IAD compared to a form of substance abuse results from a similar chemical imbalance, triggered from a “happy” response. Typically people start out as a casual user then escalate forming a habit, spending the majority of their time on social networks, emails or other websites. It begins interfere with everyday life, including work, school, even social life, creating a second world as an escape from everyday life. Many researchers see this as an individual’s way to elude stress, complications, or just to “get away”. A definite change of mood is observed, beginning with a chemical imbalance leading to possible outside effects on personality or motor skills. . As mentioned about SMAD, individuals when confronted by licensed therapist or psychologists attempt to “downplay” the situation or avoid the topic similar to other chemical dependencies. A few of the negative behaviors include isolation, neglect from studies/work or even family, and the “inability to find pleasure in the real world, as defined in recoveryfirst.org. 90 percent of the behaviors listed were associated with other dependencies...
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