With a desire to help and inspire people around the world—Ashley currently blogs about life, psychology, purpose, spirituality, and more!
Social Media Addiction Is Rampant
What is one of the first things that you do when you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed at night? Are you one to go straight to your cell phone or laptop to check for any updates on notifications? Let's be honest; this is something that we are all guilty of, including myself.
Regardless of what social media platform you use, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, your first initial checkpoint is the "notifications" tab. "How many likes did my post get last night?" "Did they ever reply to my comment?" "Did my friend message me back?" Social media is extremely addictive, and there is a reason behind all of it.
So, what exactly is the reason?
Social Media and Dopamine
Have you ever experienced that slight feeling of adrenaline when you get a "like" on your post? The more attention it gets, the more the dopamine rush intensifies. For many years, scientists believed that the dopamine chemical was responsible for pleasure in the brain, but rather than creating it, we seek it.
Technology affects the brain in the same way that drugs do. Every time we post, share, comment, or "like" something on social media, we are essentially creating false expectations. We as humans want a sense of belonging, and social media gives us just that.
Have you ever posted something on Facebook and found yourself deleting it because you didn't get the amount of "likes" you expected? Maybe your number of "followers" went down on Instagram, so you followed a bunch of users or invested in a bot that would automatically do it for you.
The problem is that we seek more and more, and the internet gives us that sense of instant gratification at the click of a button.
Now, don't get me wrong—technology has its advantages; however, many people take those advantages for granted.
How Does Social Media Negativity Influence Society?
Have you ever gone to check your phone and noticed that there were no notifications there? How does it make you feel? "Eh, whatever," right? However, the moment that your phone vibrates, you get a rush of excitement and almost instantly feel the need to check. This is because both technology and social media give users a temporary sense of "fulfillment" that disappears shortly after receiving the rush.
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The truth is when we get rewarded, it causes us to desire more, which traps us in this loop. This loop is what has caused millions of people to be addicted to social media.
Whether people realize it or not, the internet is slowly killing people's perspectives, desires, motivations, and goal-directed behaviors. It gives us the "grass is greener" mentality, and we are in constant competition with everyone else. Nowadays, people feel content with living a "normal" life. This allows people to give up on themselves easily. People on social media tend to promote how "great" their life is or how "perfect" their relationship is, but the truth is they don't show the behind the scenes as to what really goes on.
No matter what area in your life it is, becoming successful takes time. It takes hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and that's what most people don't understand—especially the younger generation. Many people see what it takes to become successful and find that it's too "difficult" for them, so they feel the need to quit if results don't happen as quickly as they want them to.
The problem is people don't have the patience anymore. They see others succeeding, get frustrated with themselves, and give up. Nowadays, only a few people in life strive to achieve their goals and are succeeding. Those are the people that aren't brainwashed by social media or "instant gratification."
What Is the Solution?
There are age restrictions for many things in life, such as drinking, gambling, smoking, but not for technology. The only people that can set restrictions on technology are parents. Unfortunately, parents allow young children to access it, and it's only going to worsen if people don't stop it.
When I worked as a preschool teacher last year, some two-year-old children would throw tantrums if they couldn't access technology. That should say enough.
People avoid the fact that the choice is there. Not everything in life is a "click away." The satisfaction and the rewards of patience and hard work, in reality, are far greater than any from a computer or phone screen.
People have to come together and understand that life is about the journey, not the outcome. After all, what fun is a journey that is shaped by a virtual reality?
© 2018 Ashley Marie Riley
Jason Behm from Cebu, Philippines on December 14, 2018:
Informative and thoughtful article. I agree that there should be a restriction of using among kids. It could be the time duration or something. And for us adult, we should also have the self-control. Thanks for this helpful article. :)