The selected topic for this report is ‘Should social media/smartphones be classified as an addiction and considered as a drug?’. This topic is important because social media addiction is a developing marvel in Canada and in other parts of the world. It is observed that an individual almost spends 120 – 180 minutes daily on social media at different time intervals. As per this calculation, it can be analyzed that an individual spends around 5 – 7 years of his life span on social media (Brevers & Turel, 2019). On the other hand, if that individual spends that time in the educational context then it will make him/her capable to accomplish their goals rapidly. This essay will present pro arguments regarding this topic because of overuse of social media, chemical changes in the human brain, and psychological problems and disorders associated with it. Apart from this, social media should be considered a highly addictive drug or addiction as it influences the human psychology and behavioral pattern of the human being in a similar way to cocaine, heroin, weed, etc.
Yes, social media should be considered a highly addictive drug because youngsters who continuously utilize social media have slowly become addicted to it (Donnelly, 2019). People on social media become addicted to watching fascinating posts and pictures of their friends, models, celebrities, etc (Brevers & Turel, 2019). While using social media, the human brain releases the chemical name ‘dopamine’, this chemical release gives a happy and relaxed feeling to the people (Mcsweeney, 2019). This chemical is responsible for relaxing and a happy mood in the human being. If in case, people do not get a chance to spend time on their social networking accounts then it is noted that their mood becomes dull and they started feeling abnormal. Youngsters appear active on their social media accounts by the time they wake up in the morning (Al-Menayes, 2016).
Notwithstanding, apparently social addictions, which can incorporate impulsive cell phone checking, work in a way that is like that of addictive drugs (Brooks, 2017). Julie Albright, a psychology lecturer at USC Dornsife said that swiping on applications is naturally exciting because dopamine hit the cerebrum each time another message is gotten and the influenced region is the equivalent ‘pleasure center’ enacted by cocaine and other addictive medications (Vuong, 2017). Time spent messaging companions on Snapchat and Instagram can be similarly as perilously addictive for young people as cocaine and liquor, and ought not to be treated, all things considered, school pioneers and educators were told at a training gathering in London (Reddy, 2019).
Despite this, the utilization of medications like liquor, and cocaine among the scholars of grades 8th, 10th, and 12th has been diminished when contrasted with the previous 40 years due to an increase in the new technology, measured by an annual government-funded report (Richtel, 2017). In 2015, 4.2% of young people ages 12 to 17 announced smoking a cigarette in the most recent month, down from 10.8% in 2005, as per the government Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Richtel, 2017). Silvia Martins, an associate professor at Columbia University said that utilizing web-based social networking satisfies the need for sensation chasing, their need to look for novel action (Forster, 2017).
With regards to social media life, one of the methods for strengthening this conduct is to check and recheck a cell phone to see whether a newly included Facebook post has gotten any sort of commitment (Kannan, 2018). This virtual feeling of support feels more compensating than doing a real-life discussion (Kannan, 2018). Additionally, numerous individuals who have fewer companions in real life are particularly the guys in general use of SNS, for example, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat (Kannan, 2018). In order to ensure social relations, they had and make new social contacts like accomplices or companions to mingling, as demonstrated by an examination of 25 online networking-dependent understudies (Aksoy, 2018). The investigation additionally presumed that male members are more ready to warm up to the utilization of SNS instead of speaking with individuals in the real-world (Aksoy, 2018).
Even, medical science also names this addiction ‘Internet Addiction Disorder’ and ‘Problematic Internet Use (PIU)’ (Gregory, 2019). This addition is getting serious attention from many doctors and researchers because it disturbs the thinking pattern and decision-making capacity of the people (Gregory, 2019). All in all, Internet Addiction Disorder is subdivided into varying arrangements. The most generally distinguished classes of Internet Addiction incorporate gaming, long-range informal communication, email, blogging, online-based shopping, and improper Internet erotic entertainment use (Van Rooij, Ferguson, Van de Mheen & Schoenmakers, 2017). Different specialists propose that it isn’t the measure of time spent on the Internet that is especially inconvenient rather, it is the manner by which the Internet is being utilized. That is, the peril of Internet use can be similarly as significant as the measure of time spent (Balakrishnan & Griffiths, 2017).
Studies show that social media-based life is highly addictive. Prior, examines have shown that people who spend most of their time on social media applications such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter are more likely to encounter problems such as depression, sleep disorder, anxiety, and insomnia (Turel, Brevers & Bechara, 2018). Presently, an investigation by scientists at Michigan State University shows that social media influences the way individuals take their life decisions, however, it isn’t yet clear that their decisions are influenced because of the time they spend on social media or other online sites (Bilgin & Taş, 2018).
Social media addicts are like those who depend on drugs like cocaine and heroin (Donnelly, 2019). This research concluded that social media addiction is like giving away our life to highly addictive drugs. Published in the Journal of Behaviour Addictions, the examination included 71 members who needed to rate their Facebook daily usage as a mental measure called Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS). Created by Dr. Cecilie Andraessen at the University of Bergen, BFAS with six things inspects the components of dependence identified with Facebook (Blackwell, Leaman, Tramposch, Osborne & Liss, 2017). Scoring at least four ‘regularly’ or ‘frequently’ of the things show Facebook habits (Blackwell, Leaman, Tramposch, Osborne & Liss, 2017).
Social media addiction is changing the psychological pattern of youngsters. Young people are now more focused on utilizing things that give them short-term pleasures such as drugs, smoking, drinks, social media, etc (Tang, Chen, Yang, Chung & Lee, 2016). Social media is the main cause that is changing the psychology of people. When an individual sees the profile of top models (male/female) of their region then they also desire to live their life the way that model or public figure is living (Brevers & Turel, 2019). People also continuously watch their profiles for new post updates which makes them more addicted to social media (Brevers & Turel, 2019).
One research has proved the psychological dependence on social media and its effects. Dr. Meshi’s group initially requested that 71 members participate in an overview intended to gauge their mental reliance on Facebook (Donnelly, 2019). Participants were then approached to partake in the Iowa Gambling Task, a technique for surveying basic leadership and hazardous conduct broadly utilized by psychologists (Donnelly, 2019). The task includes distinguishing result designs in decks of cards to pick the most ideal deck (Donnelly, 2019). The scientists found that the more regrettable individuals performed by browsing terrible decks, the more too much they were probably going to utilize social media (Donnelly, 2019). The results reflected those from different investigations indicating that individuals who misuse heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine produce comparative results in the betting task (Donnelly, 2019). Dr. Meshi concluded that Decision making is frequently undermined in people with substance use issues (Donnelly, 2019).
The reason behind becoming an internet addict is that people get multiple layers of rewards by using the internet and in their surroundings, other people are using the internet. By observing the attitude of such people, other people also try to indulge in the world of social media (Savci & Aysan, 2017). This indulging in social media rapidly makes them addicted to social networking (Savci & Aysan, 2017). Social media also gives them multiple layers of rewards, for example, every time individual switches to their Facebook account they get repeated and unexpected news (good or bad). People also find out through social media who are getting engaged in their circle, upcoming events in their region, dosages of entertainment, social media also offers the medium of chatting with random or unknown people, etc (Hawi & Samaha, 2017). Thus, these are the major issues through which people become social media addicts in many ways.
Spending 30-40 minutes in a day on social media networking accounts is expectable. The major concern here is everyone starts with spending only 30-40 minutes in the day on social media sites but after weeks or months their daily dosages of social media increase which cause various physical and physiological challenge for them. After weeks or months, people become addicted to the online web-based life and they start their morning by checking their smartphone for the new update (Savci & Aysan, 2017). Regular usages of social media make people physical lazy and dumb. Thus, it is guided that people should limit their time on social media because spending 3-4 hours daily on social networking sites simply makes people lazy at the psychological and physiological levels (Kuss & Griffiths, 2017).
Here is another factor that Tech organizations, such as Facebook, Google, and Snapchat, make their cash dependent on individuals utilizing their items (Brooks, 2017). Fundamentally, they need eyes on their application or program since that is the way they profit. Much the same as Big Tobacco needs individuals to get snared on cigarettes, the tech business needs people snared on their items. They need individuals to build up a cell phone fixation (Brooks, 2017). That incorporates a portion of the very architects and specialists who made the most addictive highlights of online life, among them a portion of the creators of Facebook’s universal ‘like’ button (Morris, 2017).
I observed that some people say that they use social media to get an instant update about the news and ongoing issues, some says they use social media to get familiar with the ongoing fashion trend, and some says after spending a few times a day on their social media account they feel relax and joyful. In my observation, everyone has their own specific reason for spending huge time on their social media accounts. No one is ready to admit that they are addicted to social media although every one of us is aware of the adverse and harmful impacts of social media. Thus, people should analyze their daily schedule, if they spend more than 3-4 hours watching social media then they need to take serious action. If people faced difficulty in analyzing their schedule, then there are many applications available on the ‘play store’ and ‘app store’ that can monitor their smartphone usage. Apart from this, I do not think that people should completely be discouraging the use of social media instead they should limit their time on social media. If people get completely discouraged from the use of social media, then they will not get an update about the ongoing issues at the national or global level. As it is a fact that social media is a great tool that keeps us updated with the current issues, but people should need to limit their time on social media to reduce or minimize its harmful impact of social media.
It is learned from this research that social media is making people dumb at the psychological and physiological levels. When an individual becomes addicted to social media then he/she is examined with similar effects as the people who are addicted to cocaine, heroin, or other drugs. Social media symptoms are manifested at both physical and psychological level which includes symptoms like it makes people dishonest, feeling of euphoria when using a smartphone, isolation, no sense of time, avoidance of work, etc. Thus, social media should be marked as a highly addictive drug, and legal administration should take corrective actions so that they can put control the usage of social media in society. Apart from this, it is also marked in this essay that social media is a great tool only if a person knows the way to utilize it effectively and efficiently.