An epidemic of social media use is influencing communication across the globe.
By early 2018, over three billion people – 43 percent of the world’s population – were active on some form of social media.
With the global increase in social media users, questions are being raised regarding whether or not the use of social media has turned into an unhealthy global obsession.
Psychological explanations on what causes an addiction to or obsession with social media are as varied as the users themselves.
Some social media consumers fear missing out on events and invitations, while others wish to compare their lives to that of a friend or celebrity. Yet others want to monitor how many likes their posts are receiving and work to expand their following.
According to research from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, social media use is linked to many types of anxiety, including one related specifically to one’s online usage called social media anxiety disorder.
Social media anxiety disorder leaves users feeling severe anxiety when going five or more minutes without checking their online status.
Some noticeable symptoms of social media anxiety disorder include:
- Isolating oneself from friends and family
- Severe nervousness or anxiety when unable to be on social media
- Spending six or more hours a day on social media
The ADAA reports that about 30 percent of social media users spend 15 or more hours per week online.
Studies from Ashford University show that teens who spend long periods of time on social media are 2.2 times more likely to experience concerns with their eating and body image.
Excessive social media use is also linked with feelings of depression or loneliness and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Long hours spent on social media can cause physical pain as well, including eye and neck strains and lower back pain. In some situations the physical risks become more serious, leading to nutrition and heart problems.
A simple solution to excessive media usage is to distance oneself from media networking and spend more time with friends and family in real life. However, for many social media users, this task is far from easy.
Those suffering from social media anxiety disorder, or any other illness caused by social media usage, should seek help from a licensed counselor or therapist.
The ADAA gives people the ability to connect with a therapist in their own area via their Find a Therapist Directory, found at https://members.adaa.org/page/FATMain
Throughout spring quarter, The Puyallup Post will be focusing on issues like these that affect mental, emotional, and physical health. Look for articles both online and in our print issue.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost