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Is the Use of Social Media Addictive?

1866 words (7 pages) Essay in Media

18/05/20 Media Reference this

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Is the use of social media addictive?

Terms of reference

 This report has been written as part of an assignment for an access to social work course.

The purpose of this research report is to find out if social media is addictive?

The primary research for this will be carried out by creating a survey through surveymonkey.com and the information collated will be compared with my secondary research and a conclusion will be formed.

Contents Page

Pg1 Terms of reference, Research Methodology

Pg 2 Research methodology continued, Positives and negatives of using social media,

Pg3 positive and negatives continued, findings and conclusion

Pg4 Recommendations, appendix 1 and references

Research Methodology

Looking at research in an article by Mike ElganI states that research published by Cornell, looked at people having difficulty quitting Facebook and other social networks. They used a site called 99DaysofFreedom.com. This encouraged people to stop using Facebook for 99 days. People who signed up found it difficult to stop for even a few days.

These people believed they could quit but it is thought that the fear of missing out is the addictive part of Facebook as it is used 24/7 and people post all the time. It is also thought that notifications numbers and algorithm’s used by social media networks is making it more addictive enticing people to use their network for longer periods of time. ( Mike Elgan contributing Columnist, Computerworld 14 December 2015 03:11 pt in Course material.)

Cornell Information Science published research earlier this month that looked at (among other things) the difficulty some people have in quitting Facebook and other social networks. They even have a label for the failure to quit: “social media reversion.”

The study used data from a site called 99DaysofFreedom.com, which encourages people to stop using Facebook for 99 days.

The site and study are interesting because they revealed the difficulty people have quitting Facebook because of addiction. Participants intended to quit, wanted to quit and believed they could quit (for 99 days), but many couldn’t make more than a few days. ( Mike Elgan contributing Columnist, Computerworld 14 December 2015 03:11 pt in Course material.)

In an article by Dr Linda Papadopoulos Psychologists have been looking at the effects of heavy use of social media on a person’s mental wellbeing and the heavy use is associated with poorer mental health. The University of Pittsburgh’s study suggests that social media users are 3 times more likely to be depressed than occasional users. A Canadian study examined data from 10,000 adolescents and found that young people use social media more than 2 hours a day and rated their mental health as fair or poor compared to occasional users. (April 12th 2017 Website: Internetmatters.org)

Over the past few years psychologists have begun to look at the effects of social media on mental wellbeing and a consistent finding of much of this research is that the heavy use of social media is associated with poorer mental health.

A recent University of Pittsburgh study of young adults suggested that heavy social media users were three times more likely to be depressed than occasional users.  A Canadian studyfrom the Center of Addictions and Mental Health that’s examined data from over 10,000 adolescents, found that young people who use social media more than two hours per day were significantly more likely to rate their mental health as “fair” or “poor” compared with occasional users. https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/expert-opinion/social-media-impact-mental-health-young-people/

Social networking has changed the way people interact with each other. It allows us to communicate and keep in contact with each other and meet new people with similar interests. It doesn’t just benefit individuals but benefits businesses. The sites allow them to advertise and market to a large audience (bbc.co.uk)

Social media has dramatically changed the way we communicate, and there are a lot of benefits to it. We have access to unlimited information, we can connect with people from all over the world almost immediately and we can share with other things that matter to us. https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/expert-opinion/social-media-impact-mental-health-young-people/

Positive and negative effects of using social media

Positive

Negative

Keep in touch with friends and family

Identity theft

Meet people with similar interests

Cyber bullying

Make new friends and reconnect with old ones

Decreased social interaction in real life

Share interests, hobbies and photos

Social Isolation

Send invitations for special events instead of posting them.

Increase in anxiety / depression

Join discussion groups or blogs

Reduced amounts of face to face socialisation

Social networking is said to improve a person’s quality of life and reduce health risks.

Young people over share their information that can affect them in the future eg. Getting jobs

Improve technological skills

Decreased social skills

Discuss homework or study topics to help with assignments

Children and teens are vulnerable to paedophiles and hackers

Communication skills

Accessing social media while driving

Social networking benefits businesses

Long term use of a mobile device increases the risk of cancer through radiation from your phone.

(UKessay.com)

Positives

Social networking has changed the way people interact with each other. It allows us to communicate and keep in touch with each other. Especially if family and friends are far away it can keep connected and supported. We can share our interests and hobbies with friends and family, discuss homework with friends in a group to help with assignments. You can meet new people with similar interests. Social media is also good for businesses. The sites allow businesses to advertise and market to large audiences. (UKessay.com)

Negatives

Social networking can open you to the risk of Identity theft, cyber bullying, social isolation and increase the chances of developing mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Children and teenagers can be at risk of grooming by paedophile. Long term uses of mobile devices can put you at risk of cancer through the radiation from our mobile phones. (ukessay.com)

Findings

By looking at the survey created relating to social media,  It shows that from the 15 people who took part in the survey that nearly all of them have stated that social media is addictive and that they used social media every day. The majority of them accessed social media from their mobile phones. Also the most used social media was found to be Facebook. Looking at the secondary research, the article by Mike Elgan, supports the theory, with the research he looked at from the website 99daysoffreedom.com  which said people struggled to stop using Facebook for even a couple of days never mind 99 days. It is thought that the fear of missing out is the cause of this. Algorithms and notification numbers on social media are enticing users to access social media and stay on them for longer periods of time.

Psychologists have been researching the effects of heavy use of social media on your mental health and have found that it impacts by increasing the chances of developing mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression compared to occasional users. It is also said that addiction to social media only affect a small number of people but with social media becoming more addictive this number could rise.

Conclusion

From the information collected from the primary research and comparing this with the secondary research. The conclusion is that the evidence strongly suggests that social media is a growing addiction for many people. Also looking at articles (written within the reading material) confirms the findings from the analysis of the survey. The majority of people are using social media daily for several hours a day and some using up to 5+ hour’s day. It said in the article that the algorithm’s used within social media are persuading people to use their network for longer periods of time. People are developing a fear of missing out obsession and are accessing social media several times a day. Not only that, but with social networks using notifications this encourages users to access them even more. With users encouraged to use social media more it has shown to have a negative effect on their mental health with risks of developing illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

Recommendations

The most logical recommendation to prevent or stop social media addiction, would be to remove social media from your mobile phone and only access it from your computer or tablet devices. By doing this you would be unable to look several times a day. The temptation wouldn’t be there and you wouldn’t receive the notifications that entice you to access them more often.

Appendix 1

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