Look around you now and you’ll undoubtedly see someone on their smartphone, unless you are on your own. But even then, you may actually be reading this via your device.
The rise of the internet, social media, gaming and the accessibility of it all through our smartphones has seen usage of such platforms increase astronomically, and just like many people do with alcohol, drugs and gambling, more and more people are becoming dependent on the likes of social media and their smartphones.
In fact, statistics show that around 210 million people suffer from social media addiction, while the average American will check their phone approximately 344 times per day. And if that isn’t a sign of addiction, we’re not sure what is.
There’s a serious point to this though, especially for younger people who are much more likely to become dependent on social media and the gratification received through it. It’s developing a compulsive need that can lead to other pretty dangerous addictions.
This is called process addiction, or behavioural addiction, and alongside social media, includes the likes of gaming, shopping, pornography, sex and eating disorders, and typically is suffered by people who experience a higher sensitivity to reward and a lower one towards punishment.
And while digital addiction may seem harmless, after all, all you’re doing is scrolling through a screen, it’s the knock-on effect to everyday life where it can have a major impact. For students, that can be in relationships, and more importantly their studies, with that 344 times per day racking up a serious amount of time, time that is essentially distracting them from studies.
In turn, that can then have an impact on grades and future employment.
It’s perhaps no surprise that this is the case. By their very nature, social media platforms are designed to be addictive. They provide incentives to keep you on the platform for as long as possible, and ultimately the more advertising revenue they then receive.
But at what cost?
More and more of us are starting to suffer from digital addiction, and a digital detox is what many of us need to ensure that we aren’t too distracted from “real life”.
Curbing such an addiction isn’t easy, and more people are in fact checking into treatment centres to try and combat that, although it is a little more complex than say alcohol, gambling or drugs.
When in recovery for those, which are naturally more dangerous for your health and wellbeing, it’s important to be completely sober from them. While in today’s day and age, it is a little impractical to live digital device free, or even smartphone free, so it’s important to moderate than remove completely fround our live, developing a better and healthier relationship with our smartphones and ensuring that social media doesn’t get in the way of our actual day-to-day lives.