Is the use of social media addictive?
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Is the use of social media addictive?
Background of the Study
In the contemporary world, there are numerous technological inventions that have been developed including Facebook, twitter, whatsapp, Skype, Google plus, LinkedIn among others. These social media platforms have greatly influenced the communication sector especially due to the fact that individuals manage to communicate with their friends and family members at a lower cost regardless of the distance and location. The future of social media use is promising, especially due to the fact that new inventions are still being developed besides the marvelous improvement of the current platforms. Apparently, the continued use of social media platforms have been contributing to most individuals spending much time plagued in to these sites, to such an extent that most of them have been addicted to social media use.
Purpose of the study
Social media has not only become a need, but also a necessity to the lives of the present generation, especially due to the ability of connecting an individual with his or her friends, family, as well as being updated with the latest happenings in the world. The purpose of this study is to establish whether frequent use of social media contributes to addiction or not.
Is the use of social media an addiction?
To establish whether frequent utilization of social media results to addiction.
Increased social media use leads to addiction.
Xenos et al. (2014) defined addiction as a form of compulsive behavior that compels individuals to feel the need of performing a specific activity especially after it becomes part of their life. Addiction is associated with a number of negative impacts, including the interference with the other daily activities like academics, work and performing activities such as running chores at home. Teenagers are highly susceptive to social media addiction, especially due to the fact that they do not have the potential of making informed decisions, but have also subscribed to the trending norm of continual online networking. Additionally, teenagers create virtual spaces which calls for the need to belong (Griffiths, Kuss and Demetrovics, 2014, pp. 56-61).
Additionally, due to the safety concerns that most parents encompass on to their children, the later tends to have limited options of analogous physical spaces. Spending time online is perceived by many as safer compared to roaming the streets. As a result, the emerging adults end up spending most of their time plugged in to various social media sites, sharing information, updating pictures, making video calls, chatting, and reading comments of others in various posts. According to Kuss and Graffiths (2017), the continued use of social media sites becomes the single most important activity that most individuals engage in not only when they are free, but also in the midst of their routine activities.
In order to establish whether continued use of social media sites results to addiction or not, a survey method was use to solicit data and information from a sample of students from the Harvard University. A sample of 240 participants, as this was deemed an appropriate number especially due to the limitation of time and resources. The participants had diverse composition including gender, age, year of study, and programs that they were studying. A structured questionnaire was used as a guide especially on the major areas of interest which were relevant to the study.
Out of the 240 participants who were initially recruited in this study, 227 participants managed to fill and return the questionnaires to the researcher, and this gave a response of 94.6 percent. In this study, 46.7 percent of the participants were females while 53.3 percent were males, 33.5 percent were first years, 18.9 percent were second years, 23.3 percent were third years, and 24.2 percent were fourth years. Additionally, 33.9 percent aged 17-21 years, 59.5 percent aged 22-25 years, while 6.6 percent were aged 26-30 years. The participants responded that they used different social media sites, including Facebook (78.0 %), Whatsapp (83.3 %), Twitter (12.8 %), LinkedIn (7.9%) Instagram (7.5%), Snapchat (1.8%), Myspace (1.3%), and Skype (0.9%).
Additionally, the respondents also revealed that they spend different amounts of time plugged in these sites. For example, 22.0 percent of the respondents revealed that they spend almost 30 minutes or less per day in social media platforms, 37.9 percent spend 31-60 minutes per day, 21.1 percent of the respondents spend 61-90 minutes per day in social media, 6.6 percent spend 91-120 minutes daily on social media, and 12.3 percent spent more than 120 minutes daily on social media.
Table 1: Amount of time spent on social media
|Amount of time spent||N||Percentage|
The study established that there is a positive correlation between increased social media use and addiction.
Most of the respondents revealed that they cannot go for a day without plugin in to any of the social media platforms. Additionally, the respondents revealed that they do plug in to social media sites even in the midst of their routine activities such as in class, studying, when they are bored, in the morning and before they retire to bed.
In order to enhance the reliability and validity of this study, there is need for future studies to encompass the aspect of using a larger sample size. Additionally, there is need for further studies to be conducted involving participants from different regions in the world. Additionally, the participants of this study were college students aged between 17 and 30 years, and future studies needs to be conducted in order to establish the impact of continued social media use among teenagers and adults who are above 30 years of age.
Griffiths, M.D., Kuss, D.J. and Demetrovics, Z., 2014. Social networking addiction: An overview of preliminary findings. In Behavioral addictions (pp. 119-141). Academic Press.
Kuss D., and Griffiths M., 2017. Adolescents Social Media Addiction. Education and Health 35(3):49-52. Retieved from, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320146297_Adolescent_social_media_addiction_revisited
Xenos, S., Ryan, T., Chester, A., and Reece, J., 2014. The uses and abuses of Facebook: A review of Facebook addiction.
Appendix 1: Study Questionnaire
- Respondents demographic characteristics
|Variable||Values||Place (x) or (√) where appropriate.|
|Year of study||1st year|
- Which type (s) of social media platforms do you use regularly?
- What amount of time do you spend on these social media platforms
|Amount or time used||Mark with (X) or (√) where appropriate|
- Do you feel you are addicted to social media use?
|Variable||Mark with (X) or (√) where appropriate|