Six simple screening questions can test for social media addiction, according to James Roberts, PhD, a marketing professor at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business. Roberts researches smartphone addiction and wrote the book Too Much of a Good Thing: Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone?
A recent poll from Common Sense Media shows about half of all teens feel they are addicted to their smartphones, and at least 59% of parents believe their kids are addicted. Nearly two-thirds of parents say their teenagers spend too much time using mobile devices, and 52% of teens feel the same way.
Are You Addicted to Social Media?
According to Roberts, social media addiction shares six key features with other behavioral addictions: building tolerance for the stimulus, symptoms of withdrawal, conflict about the source of the addiction, high salience of the addictive behavior, a sense of euphoria when indulging the addiction, and vulnerability to relapse.
Roberts suggests six questions can uncover these features and identify social media addiction. Those questions are:
- Salience: Is social media use heavily integrated into your daily routine?
- Tolerance: Do you find yourself spending progressively more time on social media to get the same satisfaction?
- Euphoria: Do you rely on social media as a source of excitement, or to cope with boredom or loneliness?
- Withdrawal: Do you feel a need to use social media, and feel edgy or anxious when you cannot?
- Relapse: Do attempts to quit or reduce social media use fail?
- Conflict: Does social media cause problems in your life or conflicts with loved ones?
Answering in the affirmative to three or more questions points toward a social media addiction.
Why Is Social Media Addiction a Problem?addiction to the internet may be associated with higher rates of anxiety and depression.
Roberts cautions that social media use can undermine in-person relationships by causing users to prioritize online relationships. Therapy can help effectively treat social media addiction, as well as other compulsive behaviors.
- Are you addicted to social media? Expert offers six questions to ask yourself. (2016, October 20). Retrieved from http://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=174059&_buref=1172-91940
- Dallas, M. (2016, September 18). Internet addiction may be red flag for other mental health issues: Study. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2016-09-18/internet-addiction-may-be-red-flag-for-other-mental-health-issues-study
- Mozes, A. (2015, July 31). Too much Facebook, Twitter, tied to poor mental health in teens. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_153889.html
- Wallace, K. (2016, July 29). Half of teens think they’re addicted to their smartphones. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/03/health/teens-cell-phone-addiction-parents/
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