Essay on Addiction Of Social Media

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100 Words Essay on Addiction Of Social Media

Understanding social media addiction.

Social media addiction is when a person spends too much time on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. This can lead to problems like ignoring schoolwork, losing sleep, and even feeling unhappy. It’s like a bad habit that’s hard to break.

The Causes of Addiction

People often get addicted to social media because it makes them feel good. They like getting likes, comments, and shares. It can also be because they feel lonely or bored. Social media seems like an easy way to feel better or pass the time.

Effects of Social Media Addiction

Being addicted to social media can cause problems. It can lead to poor grades in school because of not studying. It can also cause lack of sleep, which can make you feel tired and grumpy. You might even stop spending time with friends and family.

Overcoming Social Media Addiction

Breaking free from social media addiction is not easy but possible. One can start by setting time limits for using social media. Also, finding other activities like sports or reading can help. Talking about the problem with someone you trust can also help.

250 Words Essay on Addiction Of Social Media

Social media addiction is when a person spends too much time on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others. It’s like a drug, where the more you use, the more you want to use. This can lead to problems with school, work, and relationships.

Signs of Social Media Addiction

There are several signs that you might be addicted to social media. You might check your accounts constantly, even when you’re supposed to be doing other things. You might also feel anxious or upset if you can’t use social media. You might even ignore real-life activities to spend more time online.

Addiction to social media can have serious effects. It can hurt your school grades because you’re not focusing on your work. It can also harm your relationships because you’re not spending time with people in person. In addition, it can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

Ways to Combat Social Media Addiction

There are ways to combat social media addiction. You can set limits on how much time you spend on social media each day. You can also turn off notifications so you’re not tempted to check constantly. It’s also important to spend time doing other things you enjoy, like reading, playing sports, or hanging out with friends in person.

In conclusion, social media addiction is a serious problem that can have harmful effects. But by recognizing the signs and taking steps to control your use, you can overcome this addiction. It’s all about balance – using social media in a healthy way while still enjoying real life.

500 Words Essay on Addiction Of Social Media


Social media has become a big part of our lives. We use it to chat with friends, share photos, and learn about the world. But sometimes, we spend too much time on it. This is called social media addiction.

What is Social Media Addiction?

Social media addiction is when a person spends so much time on social media that it starts to affect their life in a bad way. They might not do their homework, or they might not spend time with their family. They might even feel sad or angry when they can’t use social media.

The Causes of Social Media Addiction

There are many reasons why people get addicted to social media. One reason is that it makes them feel good. When someone likes or comments on their post, it can make them feel happy and important. Another reason is that it can help them feel less lonely. If they are feeling sad or bored, they can go on social media and talk to their friends.

The Effects of Social Media Addiction

Social media addiction can have many bad effects. It can make a person feel anxious or depressed. They might worry a lot about what other people think of them. It can also make them feel lonely. Even though they are talking to people online, they are not spending time with people in real life. This can make them feel alone and sad.

Another bad effect is that it can affect their school work. If they are spending too much time on social media, they might not have time to study or do their homework. This can lead to bad grades.

How to Overcome Social Media Addiction

Overcoming social media addiction is not easy, but it is possible. The first step is to admit that there is a problem. The next step is to set limits. This means deciding how much time to spend on social media each day, and sticking to it. It can also help to find other activities to do, like reading a book or playing a sport.

Social media can be a fun and useful tool. But like anything else, it is important to use it in a balanced way. If we spend too much time on it, it can lead to problems like anxiety, depression, and poor grades. By setting limits and finding other activities to enjoy, we can avoid these problems and have a healthier relationship with social media.

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social media addiction essays

Addictive potential of social media, explained

The curious title of Stanford psychiatrist Anna Lembke 's book, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence , pays tribute to the crucial and often destructive role that dopamine plays in modern society.

Dopamine , the main chemical involved in addiction, is secreted from certain nerve tracts in the brain when we engage in a rewarding experience such as finding food, clothing, shelter or a sexual mate. Nature designed our brains to feel pleasure when these experiences happen because they increase our odds of survival and of procreation.

But the days when our species dwelled in caves and struggled for survival are long gone. Dopamine Nation explains how living in a modern society, affluent beyond comparison by evolutionary standards, has rendered us all vulnerable to dopamine-mediated addiction . Today, the addictive substance of choice, whether we realize it or not, is often the internet and social media channels, according to Lembke, MD.

"If you're not addicted yet, it's coming soon to a website near you," Lembke joked when I talked to her about the message of Dopamine Nation , which was published in August. This Q&A is abridged from that exchange.

Why did you decide to write this book?

social media addiction essays

I wanted to tell readers what I'd learned from patients and from neuroscience about how to tackle compulsive overconsumption. Feel-good substances and behaviors increase dopamine release in the brain's reward pathways .

The brain responds to this increase by decreasing dopamine transmission -- not just back down to its natural baseline rate, but below that baseline. Repeated exposure to the same or similar stimuli ultimately creates a chronic dopamine-deficit state, wherein we're less able to experience pleasure.

What are the risk factors for addiction?

Easy access and speedy reward are two of them. Just as the hypodermic needle is the delivery mechanism for drugs like heroin, the smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine for a wired generation.

The hypodermic needle delivers a drug right into our vascular system, which in turn delivers it right to the brain, making the drug more potent. The same is true for the smartphone; with its bright colors, flashing lights and engaging alerts, it delivers images to our visual cortex that are tough to resist. And the quantity is endless. TikTok never runs out.

What makes social media particularly addictive?

We're wired to connect. It's kept us alive for millions of years in a world of scarcity and ever-present danger. Moving in tribes safeguards against predators, optimizes scarce resources and facilitates pair bonding. Our brains release dopamine when we make human connections, which incentivizes us to do it again.

But social connection has become druggified by social-media apps, making us vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption. These apps can cause the release of large amounts of dopamine into our brains' reward pathway all at once, just like heroin, or meth, or alcohol. They do that by amplifying the feel-good properties that attract humans to each other in the first place.

Then there's novelty. Dopamine is triggered by our brain's search-and-explore functions, telling us, "Hey, pay attention to this, something new has come along." Add to that the artificial intelligence algorithms that learn what we've liked before and suggest new things that are similar but not exactly the same, and we're off and running.

Further, our brains aren't equipped to process the millions of comparisons the virtual world demands. We can become overwhelmed by our inability to measure up to these "perfect" people who exist only in the Matrix . We give up trying and sink into depression, or what neuroscientists called "learned helplessness."

Upon signing off, the brain is plunged into a dopamine-deficit state as it attempts to adapt to the unnaturally high levels of dopamine social media just released. Which is why social media often feels good while we're doing it but horrible as soon as we stop.

Is there an antidote to our addiction to social media?

Yes, a timeout -- at least for a day. But a whole month is more typically the minimum amount of time we need away from our drug of choice, whether it's heroin or Instagram, to reset our dopamine reward pathways. A monthlong dopamine fast will decrease the anxiety and depression that social media can induce, and enhance our ability to enjoy other, more modest rewards again.

If and when we return to social media, we can consolidate our use to certain times of the day, avoid certain apps that suck us into the vortex and prioritize apps that connect us with real people in our real lives.

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Too much social media can be harmful, but it’s not addictive like drugs

social media addiction essays

Professor of Addictions and Health Psychology, University of South Wales

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Senior Lecturer in Psychology of Relationships, University of South Wales

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Bev John has received funding from European Social Funds/Welsh Government, Alcohol Concern (now Alcohol Change), Research Councils and the personal research budgets of a number of Welsh Senedd members. She is an invited observer of the Cross-Party Group on Problem Gambling at the Welsh Parliament and sits on the “Beat the Odds” steering group that is run by Cais Ltd.

Martin Graff does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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If you spend hours of the day on your phone checking social media, you’re not unusual. The average internet user spends two hours a day on various social media sites. But does your habit of checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok every few hours make you a social media “addict”?

The term “social media addiction” is being increasingly used to describe people who spend a lot of time on these websites and apps. Doing so can be harmful to people in a variety of ways – causing low self esteem, bad sleep and increasing stress .

The main focus when considering addiction to substances tends to be on three key elements: compulsion (or loss of control), tolerance (needing to increase amount to achieve the same effect) and withdrawal (unpleasant side effects when use stops). Other factors to consider relate to craving, preoccupation and continuing use despite it causing obvious problems. It’s easy to see how these factors apply to drugs, but what about shopping, gambling or, indeed, social media use?

Increasing interest in these and other behavioural “addictions” – like gaming, sex or the internet – has resulted in broadening definitions of what addiction is. Psychologists talk of excessive appetites and powerful motivational drives to engage in particular behaviours that have the power to do considerable unintended harm .

As researchers in social media and addiction, we have spent the last 25 years understanding different kinds of addiction. Our research tells us that social media addiction is not the same as an addiction to substances, like alcohol and other drugs.

Social media use

Too much social media can certainly be damaging. One major feature of social media is it allows users some control over how they present themselves to others. People can edit their online appearance and sometimes present themselves inaccurately while seeking validation from others.

This can cause all kinds of harm. In a study in 2019, we found when female users looked at the platforms for around one and a half hours per day, this was related to an increased desire to be thin , a heightened awareness of how they think other people judge them and motivation to exercise for the purposes of losing weight.

Read more: Why is celebrity abuse on Twitter so bad? It might be a problem with our empathy

And in 2016, we investigated the ways people seek validation on social media. We looked at how often people manipulate posts to increase the number of likes received, use social media to boost spirits or blindly post about issues with which they did not necessarily agree.

We found when this kind of online behaviour increased, self-esteem decreased. But our findings didn’t necessarily show a compulsion to use social media – something key in making it an addiction. Other social factors, such as fear of missing out and narcissistic personality traits, may drive the need to use social media to an unhealthy degree.

Social media addiction

In 2020, we undertook a study into harmful gambling that might help answer the question of whether social media addiction is real.

We found that rapid technological developments in the ease and speed of access of phone and tablet apps are leading to increased levels of gambling harm. Similar psychological processes may be at work on social media platforms, where need for validation, craving and checking likes is amplified.

Behavioural explanations for how addictions develop emphasise the power of reinforcement. Gambling products often use the most powerful form of reinforcement: random pay outs . This, again, is potentially similar to the way users receive validation in the form of “likes” on social media.

A group of five people taking a selfie.

There are some who might argue that chronic overuse of social media can be seen as an addiction, but it not is currently recognised as such by the American Psychiatric Association .

There are important differences between excessive social media use and substances in terms of addiction. For example, withdrawal from the latter is often physically unpleasant and sometimes dangerous without medical supervision. Users often suffer stigma, which can be a barrier to seeking help. In comparison, it hasn’t yet been established that there are physical withdrawal effects when people stop using social media.

Considering social media use more as a continuum of possible harm might allow more scope for appropriately targeted messages that could prevent problems developing in the first place.

There are clearly elements of social media use that resonate with certain characterisations of addiction, such as psychological notions of excessive appetites or powerful motivations, and the built-in platform mechanisms of reinforcement through random affirmations or “likes”. It’s also clear that this can be harmful in terms of negative impact on some users’ self-esteem and body image.

But despite these factors, the most useful question might be how to create a healthy balance of interaction in our virtual and real worlds.

It’s worth remembering that behavioural addictions, like those to substances, often occur alongside other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, suggesting that vulnerability may be multifaceted. This may also be true of excessive social media use.

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Likecoholic: Social Media Addiction Essay

Introduction, “likecoholic” analysis, wågström’s perspective, works cited.

When people talk about the addiction to social media, they often approach the issue from a humorous perspective, with phrases such as “I depend on my daily dose of social media” being mentioned in conversations frequently. However, what many fail to recognize is that the psychology of depending on sources of online interaction is based on severe levels of manipulation from major corporations that need to make their content appealing for it to go ‘viral’ and get as many advertisement views and clicks as possible. Thus, despite the vast amount of positive implications of social media, recognizing its harmful psychological effects is imperative. To illustrate this, an analysis of Asaf Hanuka’s “Likecoholic” will be conducted, connecting it with a recent Forbes article covering this topic.

Upon seeing Hanuka’s piece of art, one cannot help to think about a Black Mirror episode in which the reputation and the livelihood of each person were solely dependent on their virtual rating that was based on the number of likes they get. Although such a prospect is terrifying to imagine in real life, especially for the target audience – regular social media users, the metaphor used in “Likecoholic” is extremely similar to what occurs today.

The overuse of the ‘Like’ button on Facebook is an issue that most Facebook users encounter, which is why the piece of art is so honest despite its dark humor undertones. Modern scholars have started likening the addiction to the use of social media to smoking, stating that companies such as Facebook must be regulated “exactly the same way you regulated the cigarette industry,” in which the interests and safety of users are put at the forefront (Wågström). However ambitious this proposition is, multiple facts point to the increased addiction of people to social media, as Hanuka smartly highlighted.

In the illustration, one sees a man sitting behind a computer with an overindulged expression on his face as he plugs his computer into his vein, which is a clear metaphor for substance addiction (Hanuka). Dozens of ‘Like’ icons float out of his mouth and scatter around him, representing evident repetition and close resemblance of these components of the work. The man’s computer shows an open Facebook page, from which the ‘Likes’ are being downloaded to curb his need to get more and more likes.

To persuade observers that social media is addictive, the artist used striking imagery that would be remembered. Thus, the repetition of ‘Like’ icons can be considered a metaphor for the increased need of society to get recognition from strangers. The computer, the phone, the empty disposable coffee cup on the table, the red cord connecting the man to his iMac all represent the logical strands that tie the image together. There is also a binary opposition, an anomaly between the grey tones of the image and the vibrant colors of ‘Like’ icons, which suggests that only artificial approval and recognition makes the illustration’s protagonist satisfied and happy.

The ‘poop’ emoji that replaces the Apple logo on the computer also adds to Hanuka’s metaphor as technologies are the tools that people use for facilitating their addiction to social media. The irony in Hanuka’s “Likecoholic” is that only new likes and new engagement matter. One can see some of the ‘Like’ icons being thrown out in the garbage as they have already served their purpose of momentary pleasure and were discarded in the search for a new ‘dose.’

Unfortunately, Hanuka’s metaphors have some basis in reality. According to the Forbes article by Wågström, multiple studies have shown that social media addiction is real. To persuade readers about the addictive qualities of social media, the author cites statistics from all over the world. With billions of worldwide Facebook users and millions of Tweets posted daily on Twitter, social media attracts people with its design and manipulation tactics that are based on engagement maximization (Wågström).

Regarding repetitions in the article, the term addiction is used consistently to underline the adverse impact of social media on society. Logical strands are built by using the following terms: likes, follows, emojis, FOMO, ego, platform, validation, which are similar to Hanuka’s strands. Binary opposition is seen in the comparison of social media use to smoking, both of which are addictive: the more one smokes, the more he or she wants to smoke; the more one scrolls and posts online, the more one wants more.

The addiction to social media is explained by simple facts about human psychology. This can also be linked to Hanuka’s perspective as there is a clear psychological undertone present in “Likecoholic.” For instance, humans are social creatures and require interactions with others to feel as if they belong. They need validation for thoughts and behaviors they share, especially when it comes to ego recognition.

This is seen in “Likecoholic” – the superficial approval fuels a person’s ego and sense of belonging to society. Findings to support this were made by Harvard University researchers who concluded that human brain chemistry encourages engagement online as self-disclosure leads to pleasure (Walker). This is especially relevant when applied to Hanuka’s illustration as the man in it is experiencing pleasure by receiving likes online from strangers.

Asaf Hanuka’s “Likecoholic” is both a disturbing and comedic piece of art that mocks the problem of social media addiction while also pointing out its dangers. The research conducted by modern scholars supports the artist’s views, suggesting that there are both physical and psychological implications of social media addiction. For society not to end up like the Black Mirror episode, imposing better rules to address social media addiction is paramount.

Hanuka, Asaf. “Likecoholic.” 2008. Asafhanuka . Web.

Wågström, Göran. “ Is Social Media Addiction Worse Than Cigarettes? ” Forbes . 2018. Web.

Walker, Leslie. “Study: Social Media Fires Up Brain’s Pleasure Center.” Lifewire . 2018. Web.

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"Likecoholic: Social Media Addiction." IvyPanda , 11 May 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/social-media-addiction/.

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Home — Essay Samples — Sociology — Effects of Social Media — Social Media Addiction: Consequences and Strategies for Recovery


Social Media Addiction: Consequences and Strategies for Recovery

  • Categories: Effects of Social Media Media Influence Social Media

About this sample


Words: 559 |

Published: Jul 15, 2020

Words: 559 | Page: 1 | 3 min read

Table of contents

Introduction, suggested solution, social media anxiety disorder.

  • David Blackwell, 21 April 2017 Extraversion, neuroticism, attachment style and fear of missing out as predictors of social media use and addiction. From https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.04.039 .
  • Przybylski et al., 2013 A.K. Przybylski, K. Murayama, C.R. DeHaan, V. Gladwell Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out Computers in Human Behavior (2013), pp. 1841-1848, 10.1016/j.chb.2013.02.014.
  • Weidman, A.C., Fernandez, K.C., Levinson, C.A., Augustine, A.A., Larsen, R.J., & Rodebaugh, T.L. (2012). Compensatory internet use among individuals higher in social anxiety and its implications for well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(3), 191-195. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1016/j.paid.2012.03.003
  • Parade, S.H., Leerkes, E.M., & Blankson, A.N. (2010). Attachment to parents, social anxiety, and close relationships of female students over the transition to college. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(2), 127-137. doi: 10.1007/s10964-009-9396-x.
  • Cludius, B., Stevens, S., Bantin, T., Gerlach, A., & Hermann, C. (2013). The motive to drink due to social anxiety and its relation to hazardous alcohol use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27(3), 806-813. doi: 10.1037/a0032295.

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social media addiction essays

Social Media Addiction Causes and Solutions


Among the rest, social media (SM) platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok have enjoyed rapid growth over the past few years, especially during and after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost three billion people use social media globally. The networks have become central to the lives of individuals because of the various benefits individuals get from using such platforms. However, even though it is beneficial, SM is a double-edged sword leading to behavioral addiction and severe effects on the users who do not moderate their use of the sites. The excessive SM use witnessed over the past few years has resulted in addiction, which has resulted in health-threatening behaviors. Some of the adverse effects of SM addiction include dysfunctions, mental disorders, negative emotions, loneliness, and decreased social connectedness. These impacts make the addicted users have low-quality lives and dysfunctional families.

Since social media addiction results in a significant and wide range of damages, it is crucial to understand its causes and how they can help prevent users from getting addicted to the sites. One of the most challenges to dealing with social media addiction is attempting to change an individual’s behavior without knowing what causes them to act as they do. Eventually, such approaches mostly fail because they do not address the root of the problem; instead, they regulate the results. The basis for understanding the psychological factors as the primary cause of SM addiction is crucial and is used in this article to explore possible methods to help curb the problem. Therefore, this article analyzes the causes of SM addiction and uses psychological methods to help address the issues among the affected users.

Causes of Social Media Addiction

Social media addiction has several causes, some of which result from underlying problems affecting individual users. The diversity in people shows that the range of the causes can be infinite as each depends entirely on the person. However, there are common roots attributed to behavior and change. Aksoy indicates that one of the major causes of social media addiction is weaknesses in life skills, which comprise issues associated with socializing, poor communication practices, and loneliness (Aksoy 862). Another cause is resiliency issues, which include the inability for one to recover from inner distress and devastations resulting from harsh conditions. The third primary cause of SM addiction is an individual’s poor problem-solving skills, comprising poor decision making, disorganization, and weak analytical skills. Each of these three primary causes is further explored in the sections below. The three triggers mentioned mainly sprout from various predisposing factors in one’s family, community, or society.

Socializing Problems

One’s inability to socialize with others is one of the critical factors causing individuals to be addicted to social media platforms. According to Chester, most people lack the skills to effectively interact with those they see daily (Chester, Richdale, and McGillivray 2234). This lack of social intelligence makes individuals feel isolated and unable to contribute significant thoughts when in the company of their fellow. They find their types and interact with them when they use social media. Moreover, social media also enables them to hide behind averters, thus speaking their minds without a feeling that anyone can judge them. The major areas associated with socialization problems comprise poor communication and the need to escape one’s loneliness.

Communication Problems

The inability to effectively communicate with other people makes social media users addicted to the sites where they find it easy to speak their minds through text, pictures, and videos. According to Trigueros, such people have difficulties creating and establishing relationships due to past experiences or failures and avoid face-to-face interactions, making them gain little social experience (Trigueros 4208). The void left by the lack of skills necessary for creating a suitable environment for healthy social relationships is filled with severe social behaviors and beliefs. Once developed, these users find a haven in SM sites, where they advance their unfulfilled real-world desires and relationships. They thus develop unreasonable tendencies, which become more adverse as they continue using the sites, thereby damaging their real-life healthy social relationships.

The Need to Escape Loneliness

Loneliness is one of the main drivers for people to seek a social relationship from external sources. During the pre-social media period, most people sought relationships from friends and peers to compensate for those they desired and lacked from family members. However, in present times and with the sprouting social media sites, SM users divert to these platforms to compensate for their lack of companions. O’Day et al. reveal that these users find a false comfort that they are not lonely when they speak with their fellows on the sites (O’Day et al. 100070). On the contrary, such feelings subside immediately after they are out of the sites. For this reason, most addicted users try to continue using these social media apps to escape feeling lonely. Some of the most addicted SM users are those newly divorced, immigrants, and lone children.

Resiliency Problems

Some users are addicted to social media because of their resiliency issues. Most people who lack support from their immediacy tend to SM to find activities that make them feel better. The ease of accessing social media sites also contributes immensely to resiliency problems, making the users addicted to the platforms. These factors give the users heaven of safety where they escape avoiding the crises affecting them. Resiliency problems mainly comprise individuals’ devastations experienced during harsh conditions and their inner distress.

Harsh Conditions

Harsh conditions often trigger the need for additional support, which, when available online, becomes the first place for people to find the psychological support they need at such times. However, most people also face problems with self-management skills when devastated. Various can make one vulnerable to social media manipulations when they face adverse conditions (Ghareb et al.). Moreover, harsh conditions also impair people’s judgment, making them seek peaceful social support solutions on the Internet. The psychological aspect of this problem is mainly rooted in an individual’s ability to maintain their bio-psychological balance. This lack of the power to know to check their mental state and behaviors makes it easy for them to escape their crises by getting deeply involved in the social media sites.

Inner Distress

Some people are addicted to social media because they cannot recover from a painful past or present situation. Most SM addicts have a history of failing to deal appropriately with their diverse problems in life (Wong et al. 1897). Such comprises individuals who find it difficult to recover from the difficulties they faced in the past and cannot heal themselves. Some who have failed in creating meaningful and healthy social relationships use SM to try to get the comfort they need, which prevents them from the memories of such events. Apart from railed social relationships in the past, other underlying issues could be a failure in academics, business, or sports, which make the individuals personally disturbed and lack a way to share their inner distress. The thoughts of the past make these individuals succumb to social media, which eventually harms their physical and psychological health.

Poor Problem-Solving Skills

As noted earlier, most people resort to social media and get hooked on them because of their various distresses. Thus, it is also crucial to note that those who get addicted to SM do so because they lack skills, they can use to solve issues affecting them at any time. Such individuals rush to social media to find sympathy from their followers and online friends. Such individuals failed to deal with their past problems and developed psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, and attention deficits. These mental health issues further make individuals prone to social media addiction. Lack of problem-solving skills leading to people overusing SM includes weaknesses in analyzing situations and making informed decisions and disorganized plans.

Weak Analytical and Decision-Making Skills

Those addicted to social media users do not possess mature defense systems that they can employ in cases where they must defend themselves when faced with life’s crises. Primarily, such problems arise when individuals fail to analyze the issues and find logical solutions, thereby choosing more accessible options to navigate their situations or forget about them. Some users go to social media platforms as a defense or to find pity for what affects them (Ku et al. 100570). However, as they use the sites more, they are often taken deeper using the platforms’ algorithms. The users thus find related stories, which create comfortable heaven for them, making it difficult to face life’s realities. They thus find it challenging to reverse their behavior, fearing worse psychological outcomes. Their last situations become worse because they are unable to analyze the problems that caused them to be in their current circumstances and thus cannot be decisive about what they can do to become better.

Disorganized Plans

Most people addicted to social media are who they are because of their past disorganized plans. They continue using SM because they do not have many other options to plan their lives. They become purposeless and only momentarily use the sites to fulfill their psychological emptiness. They find comfort in following events on various social media platforms and get entertained. They feel comforted with the content they get and the people they meet on the sites. However, they remained miserable, hoping they could find assistance from those they followed on the platforms. Consequently, those addicted to social media experience more severe consequences, both in health and socio-economic aspects.

Solving Social Media Addiction

The analysis conducted on the causes of social media addiction has identified three main factors: weaknesses in life skills, resiliency issues, and poor problem-solving skills. The underlying issues and the root of all these factors are psychologically oriented, which reveals the need to use psychological interventions to help find the best ways to help those addicted or can be addicted to SM. SM use is mainly associated with depression, anxiety, and mental health problems. Major social media platforms have responded to concerns around the use of the sites and their effects on mental health. For instance, YouTube initially had likes and dislikes to measure the performance of videos, but it resorted to removing the dislikes counts to contribute to mental wellbeing. Instagram and Facebook have also taken the trend, and more SM companies are following suit. The idea behind such changes is to reduce psychological problems associated with the platforms’ use; the users already have an underlying emotional problem, and negative feedback can increase their psychological distress.

It was also noted earlier that trying to curb social behavior may be a poor approach to limiting social media addiction. Behavior is a psychological factor that requires a deeper understanding of the individual to help them deal with their problems and individually overcome them. Thus, it is crucial to help the affected person identify their drive to use social media excessively and thus create a map to overcome addiction. One should identify the main reason why they are on each social site in the first place. The drive to be part of the platforms forms the basis of understanding why someone would want to overstay at the same site for an extended period. However, this should be an individual question that may require an in-depth reflection and honest answer. A psychoanalyst can help identify the possible reasons the individual uses social media and thereby help them to seek personal answers for their use of the platforms.

This analysis identified that one of the factors making people addicted to social media is problems with socializing. Social health is a crucial element of humankind, and everyone should be able to form and maintain excellent and productive relationships with their peers, parents, and siblings. Those who lack care have ways of healing from the past and find more muscular attachments with those they meet. The analysis also identified problems in resiliency, such as harsh conditions and inner distress, as a cause of social media addiction. One should ask themselves if they can control their situations before seeking alternative and easier ways to navigate them. Individuals can also learn to understand that they can get help from people closer than those they meet online. Moreover, poor problem-solving skills were identified to cause SM addiction. Users addicted to SM can find alternative ways to solve their problems instead of hiding on social media. Understanding the SM does not help one find solutions is the basis for beginning the journey to one’s freedom.

The current study has revealed several causes of social media addiction, though the major ones are associated with severe underlying psychological problems. The study identified weaknesses in life skills, including individual factors such as poor communication practices and loneliness. It also revealed that resiliency problems such inability recover from one’s inner distress and devastation when they experience harsh conditions can make them use social media more to ease their mental stress. Poor problem-solving skills such as poor decision-making, disorganization, and weak analytical skills also make people addicted to social media. The study has also revealed that since the primary causes of social media addiction are psychologically motivated, individuals must understand why they are using particular problems and also get psychoanalytic treatments that can help with their adverse life experiences.

Works Cited

Aksoy, Mehmet Emin. “A qualitative study on the reasons for social media addiction.” European Journal of Educational Research 7.4 (2018): 861-865.

Chester, M., Richdale, A. L., & McGillivray, J. (2019). Group-based social skills training with play for children on the autism spectrum. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders , 49 (6), 2231-2242.

Ghareb, Mazen, et al. “Social media and social relationships: A case study in Kurdistan society.” Applied Computer Science 14.3 (2018).

Ku, Kelly YL, et al. “What predicts adolescents’ critical thinking about real-life news? The roles of social media news consumption and news media literacy.” Thinking Skills and Creativity 33 (2019): 100570.

O’Day, Emily B., and Richard G. Heimberg. “Social media use, social anxiety, and loneliness: A systematic review.” Computers in Human Behavior Reports 3 (2021): 100070.

Trigueros, Rubén, et al. “Relationship between emotional intelligence, social skills and peer harassment. A study with high school students.” International journal of environmental research and public health 17.12 (2020): 4208.

Wong, Hiu Yan, et al. “Relationships between severity of internet gaming disorder, severity of problematic social media use, sleep quality and psychological distress.” International journal of environmental research and public health 17.6 (2020): 1879.

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Studies highlight impact of social media use on college student mental health

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Kyle Palmberg standing next to the poster he presented about his research at Scholars at the Capitol.

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When Kyle Palmberg set out to design a research study as the capstone project for his psychology major at St. Mary’s University of M i nnesota in Winona, he knew he wanted his focus to be topical and relevant to college students.

His initial brainstorming centered around the mental health impact of poor sleep quality. 

“I wanted to look at college students specifically, to see the different ways that sleep quality can be harmed and how that can impact your mental health,” he said. As he reviewed the scientific literature, one variable kept appearing. “The topic that kept coming up was social media overuse,” he said. “It is such an important thing to my target demographic of college students.”

Palmberg, 22, grew up surrounded by social media. He’d heard plenty of warnings about the downsides of spending too much time online, and he’d seen many of his peers seemingly anchored to their phones, anxious or untethered if they had to put them down for more than a few minutes at a time.

“I think from my perspective as someone who’s been really interested in psychology as an academic discipline, social media addiction is also something I’ve been aware of personally,” Palmberg said. “I can tell within myself when things can become harmful or easy to misuse. I often see the hints of addictive behaviors in peers and coworkers.”

Palmberg found much of the published research on the topic inspiring, particularly a 2003 study on internet gambling addiction. 

“They were looking at how internet gambling addiction permeates a person’s behavior,” he said. Palmberg hypothesized that there may be behavioral similarities between people addicted to online gambling and those addicted to social media. 

“Social media provides this convenient platform for users to interact with others,” he said. “As users grow addicted, they learn that they can come back to that social platform more and more to get their needs met. The tolerance users have for gratifying that social need grows. Then they have to use social media more and more often to get those benefits.”

The negative impact of a growing dependence on social media is that time spent online takes away from real in-person interactions and reduces the time a person has available for basic personal care needs, like sleep and exercise, Palmberg said. This can ultimately have a negative impact on mental health.

“As a person builds a high tolerance for the use of social media it causes internal and external conflict,” he said. “You know it is wrong but you continue to use it. You relapse and struggle to stop using it.” Palmberg said that social media use can be a form of “mood modification. When a person is feeling down or anxious they can turn to it and feel better at least for a moment. They get a sense of withdrawal if they stop using it. Because of this negative side effect, it causes that relapse.”

Palmberg decided he wanted to survey college students about their social media use and devise a study that looked at connections between the different motivations for that use and potential for addictive behaviors. He ran his idea by his academic advisor, Molly O’Connor, associate professor of psychology at Saint Mary’s, who was intrigued by his topic’s clear connections to student life.

Molly O’Connor

“We often notice social media addiction with our student population,” O’Connor said. She knew that Palmberg wouldn’t have a hard time recruiting study participants, because young people have first-hand experience and interest in the topic. “He’s looking at college students who are particularly vulnerable to that addiction. They are tuned into it and they are using it for coursework, socialization, entertainment, self-documentation.”

O’Connor said she and her colleagues at the university see signs of this addiction among many of their students. 

“They’ll be on their phones during class when they are supposed to pay attention,” she said. “They can’t help themselves from checking when a notification comes through. They say they had trouble sleeping and you’ll ask questions about why and they’ll say they were scrolling on their phone before they went to bed and just couldn’t fall asleep.”

The entertainment-addiction connection

Once his study was given the go-ahead by his advisor and approved by the university for human-subjects research, Palmberg had two months to recruit participants. 

To gather his research subjects, he visited classes and gave a short speech. Afterward, students were given an opportunity to sign up and provide their emails. Palmberg recruited 86 participants this way, and each was asked to fill out an anonymous survey about their social media habits.

Palmberg explained that the main framework of his study was to gain a deeper understanding of why college students use social media and the circumstances when it can become addictive and harmful to their mental health and well-being. He also hypothesized that perceived sleep quality issues would be connected to social media addiction.

After collecting the surveys, Palmberg said, “We essentially threw the data into a big spreadsheet. We worked with it, played with it, analyzed it.” He explained that his analysis focused on motivations for social media use, “including building social connections and self-documentation.”

What Palmberg discovered was that his subjects’ most popular motivation for social media use was for entertainment. While some participants listed other motivations, he said the most “statistically significant” motivation was entertainment.

“Not only was entertainment the most highly endorsed reason to use social media in the study,” Palmberg said, “for college students it was the only motivation we analyzed that was statistically connected to social media addiction and perceived stress. The entertainment motivation was also related to poor sleep quality.”

Mental Health & Addiction

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He found connections between a reliance on social media for entertainment and addictive behaviors, like an inability to shut down apps or put a phone away for an extended period of time. “If a person is using social media for entertainment, they are more likely to be addicted to social media than someone who is not using it for entertainment,” Palmberg said.

The structures of popular social media platforms reinforce addictive behaviors, he said. “Current trends in social media lean more toward entertainment platforms like TikTok or Instagram. People are going on there just to pass time,” Palmberg said. These brief and repetitive formats encourage addiction, he said, because the dopamine high they create is short-lived, causing users to keep visiting to get those fleetingly positive feelings. 

O’Connor supports Palmberg’s conclusions. A reliance on social media platforms for entertainment encourages addiction, she said. This is backed up by student behavior.

“My big takeaway was the interest in the entertainment variable was the key predictor of addiction. It’s not necessarily the students that are using it to communicate with each other, but the ones that say, ‘I need to kill time between classes,’ or, ‘I’m bored before bed,’ or, ‘I am trying to relieve stress after working on homework.’” The addictive aspect comes in, O’Connor said, “because users want to be entertained more and more. They are constantly looking for the next thing to talk about with their friends.”

Palmberg said he believes that not all social media use among college students has to be addictive. “It is important for people to view social media as not only something that can be harmful but also something that can be used as a tool. I like to emphasize with my study that it’s not all negative. It is more of an emphasis on moderation. It is possible to use social media responsibly. But just like almost anything, it can be addictive.”

An emphasis on digital well-being

Twice a year, in an effort to get out ahead of digital addiction, students at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter are encouraged to take a deeper look at their social media use and its impact on their mental health. Charlie Potts, the college’s interim dean of students, heads the effort: It’s a clear match with his job and his research interests.

Charlie Potts

During the semiannual event, known as “Digital Well-Being Week,” Gustavus students learn about the potentially negative impact of social media overuse — as well as strategies for expanding their social networks without the help of technology.

Potts said that event has been held four times so far, and students now tell him they anticipate it. 

“We’ve gotten to the point where we get comments from students saying, ‘It’s that time again,’” he said. Students say they appreciate the information and activities associated with Digital Well-Being Week, Potts continued, and they look forward to a week focused on spending less time with their phones.

“They remember that we put baskets on every table in the dining hall with a little card encouraging them to leave their phones there and instead focus on conversations with others,” he added. “We even include  a card in the basket with conversation starters. Students are excited about it. They know the drill. It is something they like to do that feels good.”

Potts’ own academic research has focused on mental health and belonging. Each fall, he also heads up a campus-wide student survey focused on digital well-being and how to balance phone use with other aspects of mental and physical health.

In the survey, Potts said, “We ask students, ‘How much time do you spend every day on social media? How does it make you feel?’ Students are blown away when they see the number of hours that the average Gustie spends online. The vast majority are in the 4-7 hours a day on their phone range.”

The survey, which uses a motivational style of interviewing to help participants get at the root of why altering their social media behaviors may be valuable to their overall health and well-being, focuses on small changes that might reduce participants’ reliance on technology in favor of face-to-face interaction. 

“We do a lot of conversations with students about strategies they could use,” Potts said. “Things like plugging your phone in across the room while you sleep, leaving it behind while you go to work out at the rec center, subtle changes like that. We also talk about mental health and mindfulness and how…you discern your values about what you are consuming and how that might affect you.”

Though Potts said he has encountered some resistance from students (“You roll with that and help them understand the value of that and think about how they are going to make that change,” he said), he’s also heard a lot of positive student feedback about his survey — and the twice-yearly focus on digital well-being.  

“What we found with our students is they realize deep down that their relationship with their phones and social media was not having a positive impact on their life,” Potts said. “They knew change would be good but they didn’t know how to make change or who to talk to about that or what tools were at their disposal. These options help them understand how to do that.”

social media addiction essays

Andy Steiner

Andy Steiner is a Twin Cities-based writer and editor. Before becoming a full-time freelancer, she worked as senior editor at Utne Reader and editor of the Minnesota Women’s Press. Email her at  [email protected] .

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Essay on Social Media Addiction

Social Media Addiction Essay | Short and Long Essay on Social Media Addiction | Causes of Social Media Addiction

Social Media Addiction Essay: Social media is a mechanical application and site, empowering clients to have intuitive correspondence and cooperation in sharing data, conclusions, pictures, recordings, and so on through web association. Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Twitter, etc., have brought many benefits to society.  It permits the exchange of information with a flicker of an eye progressively. It is ending up being profoundly advantageous for business, work searchers, financial specialists, picture takers, news channels, craftsmen, bloggers, gourmet experts, homemakers, and some more.

The current youthful age is keeping away from open-air sports and squander their energy via Social media. It influences their own life, profession, studies, and associations with friends and family. To spread mindfulness on this subject schools, universities and different social foundations urge youth to partake in Essay, Speech contests. This subject is one of the normal themes in such discussions.

You can read more  Essay Writing  about articles, events, people, sports, technology many more.

Along these lines, we have given you an example exposition via online media fixation of like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and so on which discusses causes, impact, manifestations and arrangements of the Social media dependence. However, the substance is given in paper design, with little adjustments you can utilize it for discourse or article composing. You can likewise utilize this data for passage composing.

Short Essay on Social Media Addiction 200 Words in English

Social media compulsion has become a reason for concern. It is preventing the understudy’s schooling and is influencing their grades. Work has likewise become an impediment to the homegrown producers just as the work-creators. This relationship is likewise causing issues and is prompting issues like anorexia and gloom.

Maybe than joining Social media and associating with dear companions, individuals have begun rivaling them. They need to post preferable photographs and notices over others and need their profiles to be awesome. Online media addicts invest the greater part of their energy contemplating how they can improve their profile than others.

Online media addicts additionally consistently desire to look through Social media stages. They revive their data, stop individuals’ profiles, update their status, transfer their photos frequently and continue to remark to a great extent.

Numerous Social media Addiction locales like Facebook likewise offer to play a few games. These games are largely habit-forming. Players attempt to contend with different parts in their companion list. They invest the vast majority of their energy playing these games to expand their level and score. They become furious and disappointed when they can’t get it.

Side effects of Social media fixation ought to be recognized and the issue ought to be tended to before extremely late.

Social Media Addiction Essay

Long Essay on Social Media Addiction 500 Words in English

Online media is an incredible method to associate with our companions and family members living in far-off places. It is likewise an extraordinary spot to meet similar individuals, support our business, follow our number one superstars, upgrade our insight and see what’s going on around the world. Be that as it may, utilizing online media unreasonably can have negative repercussions. Numerous individuals become dependent on Social media and this affects the typical working of their lives.

Students can also find Internet Addiction Essay and Paragraph on Social Media from here

Why Social Media Addiction is Increasing?

Online media has brought the world nearer. Individuals of various age bunches all throughout the planet have Social media accounts. While numerous online media clients keep their profiles serene others stay up with the latest. There is one more class of Social media clients. These individuals post nearly everything occurring in their life on their online media accounts and burn through most pieces of their day looking through changed pages via Social media locales. They have profiles on every one of the online media stages and are dependent on them.

The quantity of online media addicts is expanding as time passes. This is on the grounds that Social media stages are thinking of a few new and intriguing approaches to keep individuals connected with and snared on to them.

How to Overcome this Addiction?

It might appear to be hard to conquer online media enslavement immediately anyway you can do as such with little exertion over the long haul. Here are some approaches to beat Social media fixation:

  • Make your time useful: There are applications that help you limit the time spent on various applications on your portable. They send a ready when you surpass the time set for utilizing a specific application. It is a smart thought to download such an application to restrict your Social media utilization. You can diminish this time bit by bit.
  • Turn off your app notifications: Mood killer the warnings for all your Social media stages on your telephone. At the point when you realize you will not be informed about any new update, you won’t trust that your telephone will blare or have the inclination to continually see the notice. There will be no unsettling influence and you will actually want to focus better on the job that needs to be done.
  • Remove unnecessary app: It is proposed to erase not many Social media applications from your telephone and stay dynamic just on a couple of them. Additionally, don’t put these applications on your home screen. This basic stunt can likewise go far in defeating your Social media compulsion.
  • Make your Social life physical not digital: Keep your telephone to the side when you are with your loved ones. Converse with them, enjoy exercises you appreciate and pay attention to all that they need to say. Plan to invest increasingly more energy with them as you attempt to conquer your online media enslavement. This can fill in as a decent interruption from the bogus world you have made for yourself.
  • Follow your hobbies: Recognize the exercises you love the most. It very well might be moving, planting, singing, running or whatever else, so far as that is concerned. Participate in these exercises for an hour or somewhere in the vicinity every day to keep your psyche off online media.

Side-effects of Social Media

  • Social media consumes a lot of time and decreases the productivity of the person day by day.
  • Social media makes a person completely isolated from the outer world. Sometimes they become so introverted, that they can connect to another person through social media only.
  • Students can lower their academic marks because of the excess use of social media.
  • People get too much dependent on social media for the likes and views on their posts. Hence, their happiness is more dependent on the public reactions, which makes them more depressed and sad when do not get a good number of likes.
  • One of the major drawbacks of social media is it affects our health drastically. Our eyes get tired by constantly watching mobiles phones and laptop screens. Also, we do not prefer to go out much for a walk, which makes us gain weight and lose stamina.

Final Conclusion

Social media addicts show urgent conduct. They regularly separate from this present reality and become socially segregated. Perceive this issue and conquer it to lead a cheerful and sound life.

FAQ’s on Social Media Addiction Essay

Question 1. What is social media addiction?

Answer: Individuals invest more energy in their cell phones over various online media applications. They track down a virtual existence where it is not difficult to get virtual regard, love, appreciation, acknowledgement. Our current age is having an exceptionally low capacity to focus, they are anxious, they need things to occur in a flash. Which is hauling them into this virtual universe of Social media and applications.

Question 2. What is the cause of social media addiction?

Answer: The main motivation for this human conduct is the requirement for acknowledgement, appreciation, approval, fondness, and love. Social media introduced a virtual existence where individuals address themselves with the persona they need others to see, as and love. These online media stages are simply innovation, it is the longing in the human psyche which is catching them in this endless loop.

Question 3. What is the type of social media addiction?

Answer: There are different types of social media addiction:

  • Having accounts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, to post your stories or photos or videos, to get public attention and likes.
  • The habit of chatting through WhatsApp is another kind of addiction.
  • Cybersex addiction, watching illegal pornographic videos especially for youth is a big cause of addiction
  • Online games available nowadays also causes addiction
  • Surfing information from social media platforms
  • Watching movies or videos on free youtube channels

Question 4. What are the advantages of social media?

Answer: Social media is just not a curse but it has brought a lot of boons to society. Using social media you can contact huge crowds,  have an immediate association with your crowd, can make natural substance, approach paid promoting administrations, assemble your image, direct people to your site and can assess your exhibition.

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Essay on Social Media Addiction in English for Children and Students

social media addiction essays

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Essay on Social Media Addiction: Social media addiction is one of the most common new age addictions gripping people across the globe. Social media platforms have caught the interest of the masses ever since their inception around a decade back. More and more such platforms have come into being, since then. Their popularity has grown with time and so has the number of social media addicts.

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Long and Short Essay on Social Media Addiction in English

Here are essay on social media addiction of varying lengths to help you with the topic in your exam.

After going through the Social Media Addiction essay you will know all the vital facts on the addiction of social media, how the social media addiction is influencing youths and damaging their minds, symptoms and consequences of social media addiction, ways to overcome the addiction of social media etc.

Hope you will enjoy reading these essays because all are well written using easy and simple language. So, do not waste time, go hurry up and find your best one essay:

Short Essay on Social Media Addiction 200 Words

Social media addiction has become a cause of concern. It is hampering the student’s studies and affecting their grades. It has become a hindrance in work for the working professionals, as well as home makers. It is also creating relationship problems and leading to issues such as anorexia and depression.

Instead of connecting with their near and dear ones via social media, people have started competing with them. They want to post better pictures and status updates than others and want their profile to look the best. Social media addicts spend most of their time thinking as to how they can make their profile better than the rest.

Social media addicts also have a constant urge to scroll through the social media platforms. They keep refreshing their notifications, stalk people’s profiles, update their status, upload their pictures frequently and keep commenting here and there.

Many social media sites such as Facebook also offer several games to play. These games are all the more addictive. Players try to compete with other players on their friend list. They spend most of their time playing these games in order to increase their level and score. They get angry and frustrated when they aren’t able to achieve it.

Social media addiction symptoms must be recognized and the problem should be addressed before it is too late.

Essay on Social Media Addiction 300 Words : Damaging Young Minds

Social media is a good thing if used in the right way, but it can be as damaging if one becomes addicted to it. Unfortunately, more and more people, especially the youth are becoming addicted to the social media and it is damaging their minds.

The Craze for Approval

Social media platforms allow us to share pictures, videos and status updates revealing what’s going on in our lives. They basically give us an opportunity to boast about ourselves. We want to look good and feel good about ourselves and show it to the world. A research conducted at the Harvard University reveals that talking about ourselves makes us feel happy and high.

Social media helps in rendering this affect. We post the best of pictures and talk highly about ourselves and our family on the social media. We try to show the amount of fun we are having in our lives. However, this is not it. We, then seek approval of others. We want to see as to how many people actually ‘like’ what we are doing in life.

It feels even better when people post good comments on our pictures and status updates. Social media addicts seem to be crazy for approval of others on their list. It gives them a high when someone talks good about them, which is quite natural. The problem is they feel stressed and depressed when people do not acknowledge or like what they upload online.

The Feeling of Jealousy

The feeling of jealousy is one of the worst feelings one can experience. Instead of being content with what they have, young social media addicts try to copy others and feel jealous when they aren’t able to achieve it. They live in jealousy and agony. The feeling of dissatisfaction and frustration often takes over them. They don’t feel good about themselves and their lives and often go into depression.

Young people should think about their career and concentrate on their studies but instead they are largely caught up in futile activities on social media sites. This is not only hampering their personal growth but the development of the nation as a whole.

Essay on Social Media Addiction 400 words: A Big Social Problem

Social media sites serve as a platform to connect with our friends and relatives. We share our happy as well as sad moments on social media platforms to let those on our friend list know how we are feeling and what we are doing in life. People ‘like’ our status updates and photographs and ‘comment’ on them to tell us how they feel about it all. This is a great way to socialize in this busy world. It makes us feel that everyone we love and want to be in touch with is just a click away. However, social media becomes a problem when we get addicted to it.

Many people living in different parts of the world are suffering from social media addiction and are bearing its consequences.

Social Media Addiction: Cutting Us Off from the Society

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter may help us connect with our distant relatives and long lost friends but social media addiction is distancing us from our immediate family and close friends. People addicted to social media are hooked to these platforms for hours. They do not care if their loved ones are sitting with them or trying to make a conversation. All they care about is who updated what, on the social media and how many people liked or commented on their posts.

Social media addicts frequently check updates/ notifications on the social media platforms. This can be as frequent has twenty-thirty times in an hour. Viewing a new notification especially one involving their posts gives them a high. Lack of it, on the other hand, can make them feel sad and depressed.

All that the social media addicts care about is to maintain an attractive social media profile. They are mostly seen clicking pictures during social events, family gatherings and even during getaways with friends. They hardly enjoy the moment or talk to people around. They are only focused on collecting pictures that can be uploaded on their social media accounts or busy checking and commenting on the status updates of those on their friend list.

They post updates stating they are enjoying with their family or having fun with their friends while in reality they do not even interact properly with anyone around. This is the grave reality of social media addicts. Even when they are around people, their mind is gripped by the social media platforms.

Social media addiction is becoming a big problem. It is ironic how a platform created to help people socialize is actually cutting them from the society.

Essay on Social Media Addiction 500 words: Ways to Overcome

Social media is a great way to connect with our friends and relatives living at distant places. It is also a great place to meet like-minded people, boost our business, follow our favourite celebrities, enhance our knowledge and see what is happening around the world. However, using social media excessively can have negative repercussions. Many people grow addicted to social media and this has an impact on the normal functioning of their lives.

Social Media Addiction: Increasing by the Day

Social media has brought the world closer. People of different age groups around the world have social media accounts. While many social media users keep their profiles low key others keep it up to date. There is yet another category of social media users. These people post almost everything happening in their life on their social media accounts and spend most part of their day scrolling through different pages on social media sites. They have profiles on all the social media platforms and are addicted to them.

The number of social media addicts is increasing with every passing day. This is because social media platforms are coming up with several new and interesting ways to keep people engaged and hooked on to them.

Ways to Overcome Social Media Addiction

It may seem difficult to overcome social media addiction at once however you can do so with little effort over the time. Here are some ways to overcome social media addiction:

  • Limit the Time

There are apps that help you limit the time spent on different apps on your mobile. They send an alert when you exceed the time set for using a particular app. It is a good idea to download such an app to limit your social media usage. You can decrease this time gradually.

  • Stop the Notifications

Turn off the notifications for all your social media platforms on your phone. When you know you won’t be notified about any new update, you will not wait for your phone to beep or have the urge to constantly view the notification. There will be no disturbance and you will be able to concentrate better on the task at hand.

  • Delete the App

It is suggested to delete few social media apps from your phone and stay active only on few of them. Also, don’t place these apps on your home screen. This simple trick can also go a long way in overcoming your social media addiction.

  • Spend Time with Family and Friends

Keep your phone aside when you are with your family and friends. Talk to them, indulge in activities you enjoy and listen to all that they have to say. Plan to spend more and more time with them as you try to overcome your social media addiction. This can serve as a good distraction from the false world you have created for yourself.

  • Indulge in Your Favourite Activity

Identify the activities you love the most. It may be dancing, gardening, singing, jogging or anything else, for that matter. Engage in these activities for an hour or so each day to keep your mind off social media.

Social media addicts display compulsive behavior. They often disconnect from the real world and become socially isolated. It is important to recognize this problem and overcome it to lead a happy and healthy life.

Long Essay on Social Media Addiction 600 words: Symptoms and Consequences

Social media addiction is a real problem and it has grave consequences. Many people around the world are addicted to social media platforms and it is taking a toll on their personal as well as professional lives. They are not only ruining their lives but also impacting the lives of those around them.

Symptoms of Social Media Addiction

Some of the symptoms of social media addicts have been discussed below in detail:

Constant Urge to Check Notifications

Social media addicts feel a constant urge to check notifications on their social media accounts. They check their phones frequently to see if there is any new notification. They feel delighted at the sight of a new notification and feel sad when there is none.

Social Media over Everything Else

Social media addicts give priority to social media over everything else in their lives. It is the first thing they check in the morning and last thing they see before going to bed. Their work, friends and family – everything and everyone takes a back seat.


Social media addicts waste time indulging in useless activities on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites. They procrastinate or delay the actual tasks they are required to accomplish during the day.

Need for Internet Connection

They need an internet connection wherever they go as they require checking their social media updates every few minutes. They feel restless at places those do not have good internet connectivity.

No Interest in Real Conversation

Social media addicts may be present with you physically but they will hardly indulge in any conversation with you. They are busy scrolling through different social media platform as that is the only thing they are interested in. They prefer connecting with people via these platforms rather than any other medium.

Consequences of Social Media Addiction

Here are the consequences of social media addiction:

Drop in Productivity

A person addicted to social media ignores his work. He is constantly busy updating and improving his social media profile and stalking the profiles of others online. Social media becomes his priority and he begins to ignore his work. Social media addicts often get late to office, skip important meetings and are unable to meet the deadlines at work. Their productivity decreases by the day.

Social Isolation

Social media addicts do not like socializing with people face to face. They prefer socializing with people on social media platforms. They often miss social events or just go there to click pictures to upload on their profiles. They hardly interact with people or enjoy during such events. Gradually, they become socially awkward and isolated.

Impact on Academic Performance

Students who grow addicted to social media are badly impacted. This addiction causes a hindrance in their studies. Their academic performance dips. They also lose interest in sports and other activities. Their future is at stake.

Stress and Depression

Social media addicts want some new activity on their social media profiles constantly. This is practically not possible. While many people are active on social media, we cannot expect them to keep liking or commenting on our updates all the time. Social media addicts feel anxious and stressed when they do not see any new notification. They also feel sad when people do not like their photographs or other people get more likes. Many of them go into depression over the time.

Health Issues

People addicted to social media often experience weak eyesight and migraine. They also avoid physical activities and this leads to health issues such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

It is essential to keep a check on the amount of time you spend on social media platforms. If you feel the urge to check the notifications/ updates a bit too frequently then you must take it as a warning sign. There are many ways to overcome this addiction and you must adopt them to lead a better life.

Take free test

Essay on Social Media Addiction FAQs

What is social media addiction in short notes.

Social media addiction is an excessive need to use platforms like Facebook or Instagram, leading to negative impacts on daily life.

How is social media an addiction essay?

Social media addiction can be caused by factors like FOMO, seeking validation, and easy access to platforms, affecting mental health and relationships.

What causes social media addiction?

Social media addiction is caused by factors like loneliness, peer pressure, and the compelling design of social media apps.

What is the cause and effect of social media addiction?

The cause of social media addiction is often feelings of isolation, leading to effects like decreased real-life social interactions and increased anxiety.

What are the causes and effects of social media on youth?

Social media can cause loneliness and insecurity while decreasing face-to-face communication, affecting youth's mental health and self-esteem.

What are the causes and effects of excessive usage of social media on youth essay?

Excessive social media use can result in reduced real-world interactions, lower self-esteem, and anxiety, impacting youth negatively.

What is the conclusion of social media essay?

In conclusion, social media influences our lives profoundly, both positively and negatively, shaping how we connect, learn, and share information.

What is social media addiction summary?

Social media addiction, in summary, involves an unhealthy attachment to social platforms, affecting daily life and well-being.

What are the conclusion about the bad effects of social media?

Concluding, the bad effects of social media include addiction, reduced face-to-face communication, and negative impacts on mental health and self-esteem.

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Is Social Media Really Mental Health’s Public Enemy No. 1?

social media addiction essays

Monday April 15, 2024

By Don Sapatkin

social media addiction essays

Good Monday Morning! Forbes reports on “ 3 Offensive Mental Health-Related Terms That Shouldn’t Be Used In The Workplace ” – two of which I’ve never heard (“Menty B” and “Grippy Sock Vacation”) but will agree are repugnant, and a third (“Junkie”) that most certainly is.

In today’s Daily: Don’t believe everything you hear (or read) about smartphones, social media and mental health. Two big reasons it’s hard to find a therapist: They’re overwhelmed by insurers’ paperwork and many just take private-pay. Stopping your antidepressant is best done v e r y   s l o w l y. Empathy beats opioids for treating lower back pain. Why are men randomly punching women on the streets of New York? And more.

The case against Haidt: Are smartphones and social media THE cause of kids’ poor mental health?

social media addiction essays

Jonathan Haidt’s new book, “The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness,” is all the rage, not to mention a No. 1 bestseller. Smartphones unleashed a “surge of suffering” that has engulfed teens throughout the West. We already knew that social media is addictive, and smartphones are like round-the-clock Instagram magnifying glasses. Haidt, a social psychologist, simply proved that it’s Youth Public Enemy No. 1. Except he didn’t, according to a balanced and comprehensive story in Vox that examines his evidence, piece by piece, and concludes that it doesn’t come close to proving anything. Note that there’s a lot of nuance and (very readable) detail in this case that cannot fit in a newsletter item, so the full story is worth reading.

First, Haidt’s case: Correlation: Young people’s mental health, especially among girls, has plummeted in wealthy countries over the last 14 years, which roughly coincides with the period that most households have owned a smartphone; lots of research has shown this in various ways. Causation: Studies have found that when young people are told to abstain from social media, their mental wellbeing improves, and vice-versa. Indirect support: Studies have found that when high-speed internet, which improves social media access, arrives in communities, their teens’ psychological wellbeing declines. Girls: They are more vulnerable to social media’s harms and have registered a larger increase in mental health problems since 2012 than boys – empirical evidence that Haidt ties to a theory of how smartphones and social media undermine teenagers’ mental health.

The case against Haidt’s case: What holds the theory of “ The Anxious Generation ” together is that it applies worldwide, or at least in all of the West. But dissenters say it is not, in fact, clear that teens’ mental health has taken a nose-dive worldwide: Suicide rates are the most reliable measure of mental health trends, and while they have risen sharply in the United States, teen suicide rates have declined just as sharply in many European countries over the same period. A worldwide change in diagnostic codes in 2015 led to spikes in mental health problems recorded by hospitals that had nothing to do with smartphones. Multiple international surveys of young people’s well-being and life satisfaction since 2012 have not detected a clear decline. Perhaps most significantly – and a reason that the theory focused on the West – Haidt’s own preferred international survey shows no rise in adolescent distress in Asia, the world’s most populous region, where children in many countries are prolific users of social media.

Haidt’s critics also say that he cherry-picked the studies showing correlations between rising adolescent screen time and declining mental health, and even the ones he used show a weak association that would account for just 15% of the variation in mental health among teens. The studies that he cites showing causation are plagued by problems in methodology, and a soon-to-be published review of a key one will show that there is no evidence for a causal effect of social media use on mental health. And the indirect support (what Haidt calls “natural experiments”) from studies in five communities around the world that showed a decline in teens’ mental health when broadband internet came to town are contradicted by a more recently published 19-year study in 202 countries.

The upshot: Vox reporter Eric Levitz, who points out that he is not a scientist, concludes that smartphones are bad – just not nearly as bad as Haidt argues in his book. “In my view, ‘It is not healthy for kids to spend five hours a day staring at social media feeds that invite negative social comparisons, reward pile-ons, and induce addiction by design’ strikes me as a pretty reasonable default assumption – not least because I probably spend about that much time staring at X (formerly Twitter) daily and surely suffer mentally as a result,” Levitz writes.

Two big reasons you can’t find a therapist: They face a massive paperwork burden, and many only take self-paying clients

social media addiction essays

The gap between demand for mental health services and supply of mental health clinicians is large and increasing, even among people with private insurance and especially among those with public insurance. A key reason is multiple disincentives for practitioners to join insurers’ networks: low reimbursement rates and no problem finding private-pay clients, the complexity of psychotherapeutic treatments, and insufficient workplace supports. Yet one major factor is often overlooked, Jane M. Zhu and Matthew Eisenberg argue in a reported commentary in JAMA Health Forum : “The hefty burden of administrative barriers facing mental health professionals.”

Zhu, a primary care physician and associate professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University who studies behavioral health services’ access and quality, and Eisenberg, a health economist at Johns Hopkins who directs the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy, make a strong case: In simple terms, no other health professionals face such complex billing issues with so little support. While other specialists face similar administrative burdens, most mental health clinicians work in solo or small practices and don’t have the support provided by large practices and health systems, especially given the huge number of denied claims and the subsequent task of resubmitting them. Complex coding and billing limitations that vary from one insurer to another, arcane rules and training requirements for clients with dual mental health and substance use disorders, months-long credentialing and contracting processes for new practitioners – the list of obstacles goes on and on.

They also offer multiple, comparatively quick solutions to ease these burdens including state and federal partnerships to minimize administrative repetitions and delays, standardized contracting requirements and simplified claims processes from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and efficiencies that private insurance companies could implement. One example: an Optum Behavioral Health program that allows mental health professionals to be added to the network within seven to 10 days in exchange for initial appointment openings within five days of joining.

An accompanying editorial by policy experts from Harvard and the University of Pittsburgh focuses on the inequities created by the cash-paying market for psychiatrists (nearly half of whom do not take insurance) and other mental health clinicians. In 2021, 52% of white adults with mental illness received at least some treatment, compared with 39% of Black, 36% of Hispanic, and 25% of Asian adults. Access to services in Medicaid, which has lower reimbursement rates, is particularly limited. Psychiatrists are more than twice as likely to accept new self-pay patients than they are to accept new Medicaid patients.

The authors offer several solutions that would make a dent in the problem. But pay is crucial. The most effective changes would require policymakers to create a level playing field – a big lift, as they note: “For ease of illustration – if mental and behavioral health care is 10% of total health care spending – doubling insured prices for mental and behavioral health care (without any volume response) means a 10% increase in total health care spending. That is a lot. Even then, the private-pay market might still win.”

How (not) to stop antidepressants

Talk with your doctor about feeling depressed and he or she is likely to suggest starting on antidepressants. Far less likely: a discussion about how to stop. Plus, when you do want to stop, few physicians focus much on the debilitating withdrawal symptoms, physical and psychological, that “are more prevalent and life-altering than is generally appreciated,” writes Meryl Davids Landau, a frequent MindSite News contributor , in a story for National Geographic . Her story cites a study of people with post-withdrawal symptoms – agitation, brain fog, heart palpitations, tinnitus, burning or electric sensations, and dozens of others – that found they impaired their ability to work , with 20% losing jobs and 25% saying their personal relationships were affected.

Doctors do advise weaning. The American Psychiatric Association recommends stopping the drugs after reducing the dosage over a period of at least several weeks . That’s far shorter than updated guidance in the U.K., which recommends that users who recently started reduce their dose by 50% every two to four weeks, stopping entirely only after weeks on a low dose.

Roughly 13% of Americans are currently taking antidepressants and many have been on them for years. People taking them for a year or more seem to have more prevalent and severe withdrawal problems, one study found , and their brains require longer  adjustment periods, like the challenges long-term drinkers have reorienting their brain to the absence of alcohol.

With SSRIs, the most widely used type of antidepressant, stopping the final, lowest dose is the hardest, because 80% of their activity happens at the lowest doses . A new book, “ The Maudsley Deprescribing Guidelines: Antidepressants, Benzodiazepines, Gabapentinoids and Z-Drugs ,” recommends lowering your dosage by 5% to 10% at a time, then waiting a month for the next reduction. Helpful information can be found from online support groups like Surviving Antidepressants .

In other news…

Physicians who show empathy are far more effective in treating lower back pain, Stat reports, citing a JAMA Network Open study that extended previous findings of short-term benefits to 12 months. In fact, researchers found that treatment by a “very empathic” physician compared with a “slightly empathic” physician was associated with positive outcomes greater than those associated with opioids, lumbar spine surgery, and nonpharmacological treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, yoga, exercise therapy, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, and acupuncture.

About 25% of people on Medicaid say they were disenrolled at some point during the unwinding of Medicaid that began a year ago, and 23% of those remain uninsured,  according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey covered by the Politico Pulse newsletter . The pandemic public health emergency, which required continuous coverage and forbid states from requiring people to prove their ongoing eligibility, ended in March 2023. Since then, more than 20 million people were disenrolled from Medicaid, a major source of mental health coverage, according to KFF. Nearly 5 million children lost coverage, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families .

Psychedelics could worsen mental health in people with a personality disorder, The Conversation reported, while also making clear that the research on which the story was based had multiple flaws. The study, in the Journal of Psychopharmacology , relied on data from people who used psychedelics for both recreational and therapeutic reasons, measuring participants’ mental well-being before and after. It found that 16% of all participants reported an overall negative response, but a significant portion of those negative experiences – 31% – were reported by people with a history of personality disorders. But the study’s reliance on self-reported data, the small number of participants (807) and high dropout rate (56%) could have skewed the results. Plus, there was no control group and the types and dosages of psychedelics varied.

“Sexism, Hate, Mental Illness: Why Are Men Randomly Punching Women?” was the hard-to-ignore headline on a New York Times column about unprovoked attacks posted on TikTok. They seemed questionable – especially when the accuser was an influencer with over a million followers, tousled blond hair, long nails and was laugh-crying on view in one of the most watched videos . But then the City Council’s Women’s Caucus issued a statement confirming that the reports were not a hoax but instead part of “an alarming trend in violence against women.” Fourteen women have reported getting punched out of nowhere by strangers since mid-March, police and city officials said, leading to two arrests. Street conversations about the attacks have centered on mental illness, but the offenses seem to have their roots in hatred of women, according to the Times.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or experiencing suicidal thoughts, call or text 988 to reach the  988  Suicide & Crisis Lifeline  and connect in English or Spanish. If you’re a veteran press 1. If you’re deaf or hard of hearing dial 711, then 988.   Services are free and available 24/7.

Recent MindSite News Stories

Only two percent of psychiatrists are black, leading some to creative solutions to fill the void.

social media addiction essays

There aren’t enough Black psychiatrists to meet growing demand. Some are finding innovative ways to provide more culturally competent care. Continue reading…

Hidden Deaths in San Francisco: Overdoses Among Mayan Immigrants Highlight Urgent Need for Culturally Competent Services

social media addiction essays

For generations, indigenous Mayans from Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula have been immigrating to San Francisco. Although there has never been an official count, estimates suggest that as many as 70,000 live in the area. Many speak indigenous Mayan languages, creating barriers to service and getting information. Continue reading…

Spending Packages Signed into Law Will Keep Federal Mental Health Funding at Historic Levels

social media addiction essays

Last month, Congress escaped from gridlock to approve two spending bills that kept the government open while maintaining high levels of mental health funding. The Congressional action shows that mental health continues to command uniquely strong bipartisan support. Continue reading…

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social media addiction essays

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social media addiction essays

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Don Sapatkin is an independent journalist who reports on science and health care. His primary focus for nearly two decades has been public health, especially policy, access to care, health disparities... More by Don Sapatkin

social media addiction essays

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Risk Factors Associated With Social Media Addiction: An Exploratory Study

1 School of Education, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou, China

2 Department of Psychiatry, 987th Hospital of PLA, Baoji, China

Xiuming Wang

Yiming xiao.

3 School of Economics and Statistics, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou, China

Associated Data

The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/supplementary material, further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author.

The use of social media is becoming a necessary daily activity in today’s society. Excessive and compulsive use of social media may lead to social media addiction (SMA). The main aim of this study was to investigate whether demographic factors (including age and gender), impulsivity, self-esteem, emotions, and attentional bias were risk factors associated with SMA. The study was conducted in a non-clinical sample of college students ( N = 520), ranging in age from 16 to 23 years, including 277 females (53%) and 243 males (47%). All participants completed a survey measuring impulsivity, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, social anxiety, loneliness, and attentional bias. The final hierarchical regression model indicated significant risk factors for SMA with an accuracy of 38%. The identified set of associated risk factors included female gender (β = −0.21, t = −4.88, p < 0.001), impulsivity (β = 0.34, t = 8.50, p < 0.001), self-esteem (β = −0.20, t = −4.38, p < 0.001), anxiety (β = 0.24, t = 4.43, p < 0.001), social anxiety (β = 0.25, t = 5.79, p < 0.001), and negative attentional biases (β = 0.31, t = 8.01, p < 0.001). Finally, a discussion of the results is presented, followed by corresponding recommendations for future studies.


Social media (e.g., Facebook, WeChat, Tik Tok) have attracted substantial public interest to the point that they are becoming a cornerstone of modern communication. It has been argued that social media promote social interaction, help in maintaining relationships, and allow for self-expression ( Baccarella et al., 2018 ). According to a survey by the China Internet Network Information Center, there are 900 million users of social media in China. College students are freer than others to control the use of their time and the use of social media is thus becoming an integral part of their lives. However, social media, if used immoderately, may lead to social media addiction (SMA), which refers to the excessive and compulsive use of social media platforms, resulting in severe impairment in all aspects of life ( Kuss and Griffiths, 2017 ). Addicted users of social media tend to spend too much time on social media, to be overly concerned about social media and to be driven by uncontrollable urges to use social media ( Andreassen and Pallesen, 2014 ). SMA can be viewed as a specific form of digital technology addiction, in which the conceptualizations all center on these addictive behaviors as pathological forms of necessary and normal behaviors ( Moreno et al., 2021 ). SMA may affect users’ mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, lower subjective wellbeing, and poor academic performance ( Lin et al., 2016 ). The present study will examine potential risk factors associated with SMA focusing on demographic factors, impulsivity, self-esteem, emotions, and attentional bias.

In general, the impact of demographic factors such as age and gender has been considered in previous studies. Young individuals maintain an online presence and develop addictive behaviors more often than older individuals ( Abbasi, 2019 ). Furthermore, women are more likely to indulge in social media more than men in order to enhance their social connections ( Andreassen et al., 2017 ).

Impulsivity is an important personality trait that plays a major part in the occurrence, development, and maintenance of addiction ( Cerniglia et al., 2019 ). However, the link between impulsivity and SMA is controversial. It has been found that trait impulsivity is a marker for vulnerability to SMA ( Sindermann et al., 2020 ). The most influential theoretical explanation for this is Dual System Theory, which is also known as reflective–impulsive theory. The reflective system includes the prefrontal cortex, which plays a key role in a wide range of executive and inhibitory behaviors, such as short-term memory, planning, attention, and resistance to immediate rewards for the sake of long-term rewards. By contrast, the impulsive system includes the subcortical brain areas, accounts for pleasure and addictive behaviors, and responds to quickly acquired cues regardless of long-term negative results. Imbalance between the reflective and impulsive systems leads to addictive behaviors ( Droutman et al., 2019 ). However, another empirical study based on a Go/Stop Impulsivity task found impulsivity was not significantly associated with SMA ( Chung et al., 2019 ). This inconsistency of results may be caused by the use of different measurement approaches. Therefore, the association between impulsivity and SMA needs further exploration.

Self-esteem impacts the predisposition to SMA and there is a negative association between the frequency of Facebook use, the meaning attributed to Facebook use, and users’ levels of self-esteem ( Błachnio et al., 2016 ). People with low levels of self-esteem prefer to avoid face-to-face communication and escape into the virtual world where they can behave anonymously and do what they want. Also, negative feedback from social media will reduce users’ levels of self-esteem ( Andreassen et al., 2017 ).

Concerns over the negative emotions of social media addicts have not abated. Prior studies have mainly considered the influence of anxiety, depression, social anxiety, and loneliness on SMA. Atroszko et al. (2018) reported that SMA is positively associated with anxiety and depression. Additionally, social anxiety and loneliness are the emotions generated in the process of interpersonal communication ( O’Day et al., 2019 ). People with social anxiety prefer online communication as a way to avoid uncomfortable real interactions and social tensions. Caplan (2007) used privacy to explain this phenomenon: privacy can be better protected through online communication. However, the relationship between SMA and loneliness is controversial. Primack et al. (2017) regarded loneliness as a risk factor associated with SMA, indicating that high levels of loneliness may lead to addiction. Another study by Baltacı (2019) suggested that loneliness was not significantly associated with SMA. Thus, more studies examining the links between loneliness and SMA are needed.

In terms of cognitive factors, attentional bias has been considered as a potential causative factor of SMA. Attentional bias refers to a situation in which individuals are highly sensitive and allocate attentional resources to specific stimuli ( Gao et al., 2011 ). Generally, substance and behavioral addicts display an attentional bias mainly toward negative information ( Hu et al., 2020 ). Furthermore, attention to negative information (ANI) may further aggravate addictive behaviors ( Cheetham et al., 2010 ). An important theoretical explanation for addicts’ ANI is the self-schema theory ( Becker and Leinenger, 2011 ). Schemas are relatively stable and lasting cognitive templates for individual storage, organization, integration and information processing. A negative schema will make individuals pay attention to information consistent with the schema, resulting in a processing bias. It is not yet clear whether the attentional bias effect generalizes to SMA as a specific form of digital technology addiction. To our knowledge, no studies have specifically revealed a relationship between ANI and SMA.

Prior studies have focused on only one or two independent factors without considering the hierarchical importance of risk variables. Undoubtedly, identifying the hierarchical importance of risks has implications for the treatment and intervention of SMA. In the present study, an attempt was made to explore the risk factors for SMA considering their hierarchical importance. Also, this is the first report to specifically look at ANI and SMA with self-reported questionnaires, which provide the advantages of saving time and the capability to conduct large-scale investigations. It was hypothesized that each variable would be a significant predictor for SMA at each step.

Materials and Methods


A total of 532 college students attending a state university in China participated in the present study. 12 participants did not meet the inclusion criteria and were excluded. The final study sample consisted of 520 participants including 277 females (53%) and 243 males (47%). The ages of all participants ranged from 16 to 23 years ( M = 19.68, SD = 1.07). Inclusion criteria for participants included fluency in Chinese and having at least one social media application account. Exclusion criteria included current psychiatric conditions and a history of mental illness (e.g., anxiety, depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder), as well as other addictive behaviors or a family history of addictions (e.g., alcohol use disorder, nicotine abuse, illegal drug dependence, etc.).

All participants completed paper-and-pencil surveys in class. Written consent was obtained from the participants before the survey. The survey took approximately 20 min. Data collection took place from April to June 2021.

Ethics Statement

Approval for the research was granted by the ethics committee of Guangzhou University. All participants were informed of the purpose and procedures of the study, and that participation was anonymous and voluntary.

Socio-demographics information: The survey recorded questions concerning age, gender, presence of social media accounts, current and prior of mental illness, as well as the presence of other addictive behaviors and a family history of addiction.

Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale

The Chinese version ( Leung et al., 2020 ), adapted from Andreassen et al. (2017) , was used to evaluate levels of SMA with higher scores indicating greater SMA. It consists of six items (e.g., “How often have you felt an urge to use social media more and more during the last year?”) measured on a 5-point scale (1 = very rarely , 5 = very often ). According to the gold standard of clinical diagnosis, a BSMAS score of 24 was taken to be the optimal cut-off point ( Luo et al., 2021 ). If the BSMAS score was 24 or above, the participant was considered to be addicted. Otherwise, the participant was considered to be non-addicted. The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.78 in the current study.

Brief Barratt Impulsivity Scale

The Chinese version ( Luo et al., 2020 ), adapted from Morean et al. (2014) , was used to measure trait impulsivity. It consists of eight items (e.g., “I do things without consideration”) rated on a 4-point scale (1 = very inconsistent , 4 = very consistent ). Higher scores indicate poor self-regulation and impulsive behaviors. The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.81 in the current study.

Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale

The Chinese version ( Wang et al., 2010 ), adapted from Rosenberg (1965) , was used to evaluate levels of self-esteem. It is rated on a 4-point scale (1 = strongly disagree , 4 = strongly agree ) with 10 items (e.g., “I feel that I have a number of good qualities”). Higher scores indicate higher levels of self-esteem. The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.91 in the current study.

Self-Rating Anxiety Scale

The Chinese version ( Liu et al., 1995 ), adapted from Zung (1971) , was used to measure anxiety. It is rated on a 4-point scale (1 = never or very rarely , 4 = most or all of the time ) with 20 items (e.g., “I feel more nervous and anxious than usual”). Higher scores indicate more severe anxiety symptoms. The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.84 in the current study.

Self-Rating Depression Scale

The Chinese version ( Liu et al., 1994 ), adapted from Zung (1965) , was used to assess depression. It consists of 20 items (e.g., “I feel gloomy and depressed”) rated on a 4-point scale (1 = never or rarely , 4 = most or all of the time ). Higher scores indicate more severe depressive symptoms. The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.85 in the current study.

Interaction Anxiety Scale

The Chinese version ( Peng et al., 2004 ), adapted from Leary (1983) , was used to assess social anxiety. It consists of 15 items (e.g., “I will be nervous during an interview”) rated on a 5-point scale (1 = not at all consistent , 5 = extremely consistent ) where higher scores represent greater social anxiety. The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.88 in the current study.

UCLA Loneliness Scale

The Chinese version ( Liu, 1999 ), adapted from Russell (1996) , was used to assess loneliness. It is composed of 20 items (e.g., “Do you often feel that no one can be trusted?”) rated on a 4-point scale (1 = never , 4 = always ). Higher scores indicate higher levels of loneliness. The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.91 in the current study.

Attention to Positive and Negative Inventory

The Chinese version ( Dai et al., 2015 ), adapted from Noguchi et al. (2006) , was used to assess attentional bias. The inventory is composed of 22 items rated on a 5-point scale (1 = totally inconsistent , 5 = totally consistent ) and includes two dimensions: attention to positive information with 12 items and ANI with 10 items (e.g., “I can’t forget the harm that others have done to me”). This study focused on the impact of ANI on SMA, thus only the ANI subscale was used. Higher scores on the ANI subscale indicate greater ANI. The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.73 in the current study.

Data Analysis

Data were analyzed using the SPSS 24.0 software package program. Initially, the effects of demographic information (age and gender) on SMA in the total sample were checked with one-way ANOVAs. The Pearson correlation coefficient was conducted to reveal the links between gender, impulsivity, self-esteem, emotions, attentional biases and SMA. Finally, a hierarchical regression analysis was used to explore whether independent variables (i.e., gender, impulsivity, self-esteem, emotions, and attentional biases) could predict the dependent variable (SMA).

Descriptive Data and Inter-Correlations Between Variables

First, one-way ANOVAs were used to investigate effects of age and gender on SMA in the total sample. Univariate analyses indicated that there is no significant difference by age [ F (7, 512) = 1.74, p = 0.09] but that the samples differed by gender [ F (1, 518) = 23.79, p < 0.001]. Females are more likely than males to be addicted to social media. Thus, the first step was to control for the effects of gender in the regression analyses. Next, a correlation analysis was performed on the influencing factors of SMA in the total sample. Bivariate correlations between variables are presented in Table 1 .

Descriptive data and inter-correlations between variables.

N = 520. **p < 0.01 and ***p < 0.001.

a Dummy variable is coded as male = 1, female = 0. The proportion of females in the sample is 53%.

ANI, attention to negative information; SMA, social media addiction.

Hierarchical Regressions

Hierarchical regressions are presented in Table 2 . Gender was included in Step 1 ( R 2 = 0.04). It was found that gender was significantly related to SMA (β = −0.21, t = −4.88, p < 0.001) and that females are more prone to addictive use of social media. In Step 2, gender and impulsivity remained risk factors ( R 2 = 0.16). Impulsivity was positively associated with SMA (β = 0.34, t = 8.50, p < 0.001). In Step 3, gender, impulsivity and self-esteem were included ( R 2 = 0.19). A higher level of self-esteem proved to be a protective factor associated with SMA (β = −0.20, t = −4.38, p < 0.001). Gender and impulsivity were still risk factors. In Step 4, negative emotions were added to the model ( R 2 = 0.30) and risk factors associated with SMA were found to include gender (β = −0.14, t = −3.79, p < 0.001), impulsivity (β = 0.18, t = 4.01, p < 0.001), anxiety (β = 0.24, t = 4.43, p < 0.001), and social anxiety (β = 0.25, t = 5.79, p < 0.001). Depression, loneliness and self-esteem were not risk factors. In Step 5, ANI was shown to be positively correlated with SMA (β = 0.31, t = 8.01, p < 0.001). The final model accounted for 38% of the variance [ F (9, 510) = 36.61, p < 0.001]. In the final model, gender, impulsivity, anxiety, social anxiety, and ANI were all found to be risk factors associated with SMA.

Regression analyses.

N = 520. ***p < 0.001.

a Dummy variable is coded as male = 1, female = 0.

ANI, attention to negative information.

The main objective of this study was to examine whether demographic factors, impulsivity, self-esteem, emotions, and attentional biases were potential risk factors associated with SMA. It was found that females were more susceptible to SMA than males. Additionally, impulsivity, low levels of self-esteem, anxiety, social anxiety, and ANI were found to be risk factors for SMA.

Demographic Factors

Gender was found to be associated with SMA. In the present sample, 2.9% of the participants scored 24 or above in BSMAS and thus met the criteria for SMA. The proportion was similar to the previous report (3.5%) in a Chinese sample ( Luo et al., 2021 ). The prevalence of SMA in males and females in the current study was 1.2 and 4.3%, respectively. Females showed higher addiction rate and greater levels of SMA than males. This result is in agreement with prior research ( Monacis et al., 2020 ). Females focus more attention on social activities for enhancing communication and prefer to share more selfies on social applications and social networking sites ( Dhir et al., 2016 ). Interestingly, it was found that age had no significant effect on SMA. This finding is inconsistent with the prior study that young people are more likely to develop SMA ( Abbasi, 2019 ). The lack of association between age and SMA can possibly be attributed to the selected sample in which participants were relatively young and the age span was small, resulting in no age effect.


Although, the association between impulsivity and SMA is still controversial, this study supports the hypothesis that impulsivity is positively associated with SMA. This finding is in agreement with the study by Sindermann et al. (2020) , which indicated that trait impulsivity was positively associated with the severity of SMA. It contradicts the study by Chung et al. (2019) , which indicated that impulsivity was not associated with SMA. Our finding underlines the importance of impulsivity as a risk factor related with SMA. This result may be supported by Dual System Theory ( Droutman et al., 2019 ). Higher levels of impulsivity in social media addicts are rooted in an imbalance between the reflective and impulsive systems. Higher levels of impulsivity might be associated with SMA due to attentional fluctuation, i.e., individuals engage in social media when they lose attention to another task. Addictive uses of social media can thus be regarded as a form of urgency relevant behaviors displayed to regulate (suppress and/or exacerbate) emotional states in the short term despite the delayed negative consequences ( Rothen et al., 2018 ). Similarly, a study by Minhas et al. (2021) explored the links between alcohol abuse and food addiction in relation to impulsive personality traits, impulsive choices and impulsive action. It was found that alcohol problems and food addiction showed parallel associations, indicating common underlying impulsivity mechanisms. Likewise, the present study also found that a higher level of impulsivity is a risk factor for SMA. Collectively, the multiple lines of evidence suggest that SMA, food addiction, and alcohol abuse may have similar underlying impulsivity mechanisms.


Levels of self-esteem were found to be negatively correlated with SMA in the current study. This is consistent with a prior study that found higher levels of self-esteem are a protective factor against addictive behaviors ( Andreassen et al., 2017 ). In the research on Internet addiction, people with low levels of self-esteem tend to use the Internet for social support, and the social support gained from the Internet could compensate for the lack of social support offline. Also, SMA showed a negative correlation with levels of self-esteem. Individuals use more social media to obtain higher levels of self-esteem (e.g., harvesting “likes”), and/or to get rid of feelings of low self-esteem ( Błachnio et al., 2016 ). Notably, after emotions were incorporated into the model, self-esteem was no longer a risk factor for SMA in hierarchical regressions. Consistent with prior research, this suggests that the influence of self-esteem on SMA is regulated by emotions ( Andreassen et al., 2017 ).

The results of this study show that emotions, particularly, anxiety and social anxiety, are the strongest risk factors associated with SMA. This is consistent with prior research showing that anxiety is a risk factor for SMA ( Keles et al., 2019 ). Anxious individuals prefer to use social media platforms to alleviate unfavorable emotions, for example, by seeking attention, support, or a sense of belonging on social media ( Vannucci et al., 2017 ). Additionally, in line with the study by Baltacı (2019) , this study found that social anxiety is positively associated with SMA. Individuals who experience difficulty communicating with others in social environments prefer social media for interaction. Privacy is an important feature of the Internet ( Caplan, 2007 ). Compared to face-to-face communication, interaction through a virtual environment is perceived to be less risky.

The relationships between depression, loneliness, and SMA were found to be relatively low. Neither loneliness nor depression was significantly associated with SMA in this study. This is consistent with prior research that has shown that depression and loneliness were not predictors of SMA ( Baltacı, 2019 ; Marttila et al., 2021 ). The reason for the lack of a link may be the marginal effect caused by these moderate relationships. When depression and loneliness were analyzed as psychosocial variables in terms of SMA, it was found that depression and loneliness are both the reasons for Primack et al. (2017) and the consequences of SMA ( Dossey, 2014 ).

Attention to Negative Information

This was the first study to look at the association between ANI and SMA. This study used hierarchical regressions to find that ANI is one of the risk factors associated with SMA. Previously, a study by Aguilar de Arcos et al. (2008) reported that opioid users have higher arousal responses to negative and unpleasant emotional images compared with healthy individuals. Similarly, another study by Hu et al. (2020) used eye tracking technology to find that mobile phone addicts show a processing bias toward negative emotional clues. Although, unlike substance and behavioral addiction, the availability of social media is so high. Social media addicts also displayed negative attentional bias effect. This indicates that a processing bias toward negative information may be the common underlying mechanism that incurs and maintains addictive behavior. The abovementioned phenomenon can be explained by self-schema theory ( Becker and Leinenger, 2011 ). Addicts mainly demonstrate attentional biases toward negative emotions because they often experience negative emotions such as anxiety and depression. Information consistent with the negative schema will automatically capture the individual’s attention, leading to negative attentional bias. ANI is also an important reason for the occurrence, development, and maintenance of social anxiety and depression ( Brailovskaia and Margraf, 2020 ). Individuals with high levels of social anxiety specifically allocate attentional resources to negative information in the environment and social interactions, resulting in depression.


Our study can not only provide theoretical and practical support for prevention and intervention into SMA, but also contribute to improving individuals’ physical and mental health. It was found that female gender, impulsivity, self-esteem, anxiety, social anxiety, and ANI exhibited significant risk effects for SMA. In future studies, alleviating users’ anxiety, actively organizing social activities, and correcting attentional bias with attention training programs could be used to reduce the risk of SMA.

Limitations and Future Directions

The current study has some limitations. First, since this research was based on a single classroom survey, it was a relatively small study in terms of scope, and the sample was potentially unrepresentative. Second, less information was collected from the participants in the demographic characteristics portion of the survey, resulting in a lack of some sociodemographic and clinical information about participants. Third, data were collected near the end of the semester, when senior students were preparing for internship and/or employment. Thus, participants mainly belonged to junior grades. The age span is relatively narrow, which may have affected our ability to detect an effect of age on SMA. Fourth, this research was based on questionnaires and was limited by self-report measurement methods. The validity of the research may depend on the accuracy of participants’ reports. Finally, as this study was cross-sectional design, the causality between variables could not be determined.

In future studies, the scope of sampling can be further expanded to enhance the representativeness of the sample and explore the effect of age on SMA. Also, a wide range of other information about participants should be gathered through the survey to explore the effect of demographic characteristics on SMA: e.g., average daily time spent on social media, the number of social media applications, discipline background, etc. Moreover, research focused on the relationship between impulsivity, attentional biases and SMA could be combined with empirical research. For example, the Go/Stop paradigm and Stroop task could be used to assess impulsive action and attentional bias, respectively. Finally, longitudinal tracking research could be used to determine the causality between variables.

Data Availability Statement

The studies involving human participants were reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee of Guangzhou University. Participants provided written informed consent to participate in the study.

Author Contributions

JZ designed the project and collected the data. TJ, XWa, and YX conducted statistical analyses. XWu was involved in supervision and edit manuscript drafts. All authors approved the final manuscript before submission.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

All authors are grateful for the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31970993).

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A Conversation With …

Teen Drug Use Habits Are Changing, For the Good. With Caveats.

Dr. Nora Volkow, who leads the National Institutes of Drug Abuse, would like the public to know things are getting better. Mostly.

Dr. Nora Volkow, wearing a black puffy jacket, black pants and red sneakers, sits on the arm of a bench, with one foot on the seat and one on the ground, in front of a brick wall.

By Matt Richtel

Historically speaking, it’s not a bad time to be the liver of a teenager. Or the lungs.

Regular use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs among high school students has been on a long downward trend.

In 2023, 46 percent of seniors said that they’d had a drink in the year before being interviewed; that is a precipitous drop from 88 percent in 1979, when the behavior peaked, according to the annual Monitoring the Future survey, a closely watched national poll of youth substance use. A similar downward trend was observed among eighth and 10th graders, and for those three age groups when it came to cigarette smoking. In 2023, just 15 percent of seniors said that they had smoked a cigarette in their life, down from a peak of 76 percent in 1977 .

Illicit drug use among teens has remained low and fairly steady for the past three decades, with some notable declines during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2023, 29 percent of high school seniors reported using marijuana in the previous year — down from 37 percent in 2017, and from a peak of 51 percent in 1979.

There are some sobering caveats to the good news. One is that teen overdose deaths have sharply risen, with fentanyl-involved deaths among adolescents doubling from 2019 to 2020 and remaining at that level in the subsequent years.

Dr. Nora Volkow has devoted her career to studying use of drugs and alcohol. She has been the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse since 2003. She sat down with The New York Times to discuss changing patterns and the reasons behind shifting drug-use trends.

What’s the big picture on teens and drug use?

People don’t really realize that among young people, particularly teenagers, the rate of drug use is at the lowest risk that we have seen in decades. And that’s worth saying, too, for legal alcohol and tobacco.

What do you credit for the change?

One major factor is education and prevention campaigns. Certainly, the prevention campaign for cigarette smoking has been one of the most effective we’ve ever seen.

Some of the policies that were implemented also significantly helped, not just making the legal age for alcohol and tobacco 21 years, but enforcing those laws. Then you stop the progression from drugs that are more accessible, like tobacco and alcohol, to the illicit ones. And teenagers don’t get exposed to advertisements of legal drugs like they did in the past. All of these policies and interventions have had a downstream impact on the use of illicit drugs.

Does social media use among teens play a role?

Absolutely. Social media has shifted the opportunity of being in the physical space with other teenagers. That reduces the likelihood that they will take drugs. And this became dramatically evident when they closed schools because of Covid-19. You saw a big jump downward in the prevalence of use of many substances during the pandemic. That might be because teenagers could not be with one another.

The issue that’s interesting is that despite the fact schools are back, the prevalence of substance use has not gone up to the prepandemic period. It has remained stable or continued to go down. It was a big jump downward, a shift, and some drug use trends continue to slowly go down.

Is there any thought that the stimulation that comes from using a digital device may satisfy some of the same neurochemical experiences of drugs, or provide some of the escapism?

Yes, that’s possible. There has been a shift in the types of reinforcers available to teenagers. It’s not just social media, it’s video gaming, for example. Video gaming can be very reinforcing, and you can produce patterns of compulsive use. So, you are shifting one reinforcer, one way of escaping, with another one. That may be another factor.

Is it too simplistic to see the decline in drug use as a good news story?

If you look at it in an objective way, yes, it’s very good news. Why? Because we know that the earlier you are using these drugs, the greater the risk of becoming addicted to them. It lowers the risk these drugs will interfere with your mental health, your general health, your ability to complete an education and your future job opportunities. That is absolutely good news.

But we don’t want to become complacent.

The supply of drugs is more dangerous, leading to an increase in overdose deaths. We’re not exaggerating. I mean, taking one of these drugs can kill you.

What about vaping? It has been falling, but use is still considerably higher than for cigarettes: In 2021, about a quarter of high school seniors said that they had vaped nicotine in the preceding year . Why would teens resist cigarettes and flock to vaping?

Most of the toxicity associated with tobacco has been ascribed to the burning of the leaf. The burning of that tobacco was responsible for cancer and for most of the other adverse effects, even though nicotine is the addictive element.

What we’ve come to understand is that nicotine vaping has harms of its own, but this has not been as well understood as was the case with tobacco. The other aspect that made vaping so appealing to teenagers was that it was associated with all sorts of flavors — candy flavors. It was not until the F.D.A. made those flavors illegal that vaping became less accessible.

My argument would be there’s no reason we should be exposing teenagers to nicotine. Because nicotine is very, very addictive.

Anything else you want to add?

We also have all of this interest in cannabis and psychedelic drugs. And there’s a lot of interest in the idea that psychedelic drugs may have therapeutic benefits. To prevent these new trends in drug use among teens requires different strategies than those we’ve used for alcohol or nicotine.

For example, we can say that if you take drugs like alcohol or nicotine, that can lead to addiction. That’s supported by extensive research. But warning about addiction for drugs like cannabis and psychedelics may not be as effective.

While cannabis can also be addictive, it’s perhaps less so than nicotine or alcohol, and more research is needed in this area, especially on newer, higher-potency products. Psychedelics don’t usually lead to addiction, but they can produce adverse mental experiences that can put you at risk of psychosis.

Matt Richtel is a health and science reporter for The Times, based in Boulder, Colo. More about Matt Richtel

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What Phones Are Doing to Reading

By Jay Caspian Kang

Illustration of books and digital reading devices.

For the past five years or so, I’ve read books on my phone. The practice started innocently enough. I write book reviews from time to time, and so publishers sometimes send me upcoming titles that fall roughly within my interests. When a publisher provided a choice between a PDF of a book and a physical copy, I would usually ask for the PDF, because I didn’t want my house to fill up with books that I might end up not reading. But what was at first a matter of clutter-free convenience became a habit, and now I encounter nearly every written work, regardless of its length, quality, and difficulty, on the small screen of my iPhone.

I use a variety of e-reading apps: Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Libby . The last three books I downloaded onto the Apple Books app are Rachel Cusk ’s novel “ Second Place ”; Malcolm Lowry ’s 1947 classic “ Under the Volcano ,” which I bought because I wanted to see if I would enjoy it more than I did when read it twenty years ago; and Gary Indiana’s essay collection “ Fire Season .” According to the little readout beneath the cover image for each book, I am nine per cent through the Cusk, a distressing three per cent through the Lowry reread, and a hundred per cent through the Indiana, a book I found liberating, both for its style and for its freeing expression of unpleasant thoughts.

The e-reading apps have their merits. At times, they become respites from the other, more addictive apps on my phone. Switching to a book from, say, Twitter, is like the phone-scroller’s version of a nice hike—the senses reorient themselves, and you feel more alert and vigorous, because you’ve spent six to eight minutes going from seven to eleven per cent of Arthur Koestler ’s “ Darkness at Noon .” Or you might feel a sense of pride because you’ve reached the sixty-per-cent mark in Elton John ’s autobiography, “ Me ,” which isn’t a great work of literature but at least is better than Twitter. The book apps also seem to work as a stopgap for children, who are always lusting after screen time of any sort. My seven-year-old daughter has read hundreds of books on the Libby app, which lets you check out e-books from public libraries you belong to. As a parent, I find this wildly preferable to hearing the din of yet another stupid YouTube short or “ Is it Cake? ” episode coming through her iPad’s speakers.

Still, the arrival of these technologies has been accompanied by a steady decline in the number of books that get read in any form. A pair of 1999 Gallup polls, for example, found that Americans, on average, had read 18.5 books in the course of the previous twelve months. (It should be noted that these were books people had read, or said they had read, “either all or part of the way through.”) By 2021, the number had fallen to 12.6. In 2023, a National Endowment for the Arts survey found that the share of American adults who read novels or short stories had declined from 45.2 per cent in 2012 to 37.6 per cent in 2022, a record low. There are plenty of theories about why this is happening , involving broad finger-pointing toward the Internet or the ongoing influence of television, or even shifting labor conditions, as more women have entered the workforce .

We continue to spend a lot of time reading words, whether via social media or push notifications or text messages, but it can seem off to label any of that “reading,” a term that suggests something edifying or educational. Even book apps, I find, can feel like a sort of in-between, not the time suck of social media but also not the comfortable absorption of a good paperback. There’s something about scrolling and tapping that leads to a quick calcification of muscle memory. You start to tap on the same things not out of familiarity or comfort but out of sheer habit. Now that I read on my phone, I give up on new books more quickly than I used to. I go back to the same stuff over and over, in the same way that I watch the same YouTube videos over and over. I’m not entirely sure why I get mired in such a rut; part of it, I suspect, is just that I’m getting older. Of the books I’ve recently downloaded, only the Cusk came to me via recommendation algorithm, the “For You” box in Apple Books. Even so, I find that my reading habits follow a pattern that one might call algorithmic, and which I prefer to call laziness.

My colleague Kyle Chayka has written shrewdly and at length about the seduction of algorithms and the homogenizing effect they have on cultural production. But I have found myself wondering whether we actually live in a world forcibly shaped by algorithms or whether our phones themselves—their fiddly buttons, their flashing screens, their slight but satisfying heft—have other, more fundamental ways of making us lazy. If the algorithms are to blame, then we need to find ways to get outside of or otherwise away from them. But if the problem is our phones—and, of course, us—then we may have to walk away from much more.

The BOOX Palma is a new e-reader that promises an immersive experience for “reading an ebook, listening to a podcast, or perusing your favorite news feeds.” It costs about two hundred and eighty dollars and is roughly the size of a Google Pixel phone. The Palma runs on the Android platform, which means that you can add apps like Twitter to the device, but doing so is clearly not the point. The screen is matte, gray scale, and plain. Like the Kindle and other e-readers, the Palma is supposed to approximate the look of the physical page and cut down on eye fatigue.

Several years ago, there was some talk that cell-phone addiction was driven, in part, by the bright colors on our phone. Turning your phone display to gray scale would, it was suggested, make things feel less immersive and a bit drearier; this, in turn, would help you cut down on your screen time. Of course, even if this trick works, you can always change your phone back whenever you want. The Palma, though, does not have color options, nor does it have cellular service, and that means you cannot connect to the Internet without Wi-Fi. You can take the device on long, contemplative walks, listening to music or podcasts that you’ve downloaded, knowing that you will not be disturbed by a push notification while you stroll through the woods.

I have bought a handful of similar devices through the years, in the vain hope that one of them might replace my iPhone. The dream is a handheld object that renders the worst and most addictive apps unusable and perhaps even makes the good apps—which is to say, word-processing and e-reading apps—a little better. There’s always a honeymoon period with these devices, during which I envision a whole new life of information consumption. When I bought a Kindle, a few years ago, I subscribed to the Financial Times’s Kindle delivery service; I pictured myself sitting at the table in our kitchen with a bowl of oatmeal, a pot of coffee, and the gray-scale version of the F.T. , which might not be as nice as the print version, with its salmon pages, but is certainly better than reading the newspaper’s iPhone app, with a notification buzzing every few minutes. That particular fantasy didn’t last a week.

A methadone-like treatment for cell-phone addiction—that is, a tamer and less addictive version of the real thing—doesn’t seem to work. Though the BOOX Palma can make the apps gray and accessible only through Wi-Fi, I will probably just spend more of my time in Wi-Fi range, watching black-and-white videos. This doesn’t mean that the Palma or other e-readers are useless. The Palma has speakers and Bluetooth compatibility, so it can work with audiobooks to create something of a patchwork of portable text: words issue from the car speakers on my drive to my younger child’s day care, pop up on the device’s screen when I’m waiting in line for coffee, and finally appear on the desktop monitor in my office, where they will get swallowed up by five separate chat platforms and the demands of my fantasy-basketball team.

This bouncing around might be clumsy and a bit tacky, but it tweaks the relationship I have with the prose on the page—and not, to my surprise, in a bad way. As a writer, I often read to remind myself that sentences can, in fact, be interesting. This multimedia method of reading creates quick little shots of prose that can loosen the writing gears. You can read a few pages of Bruce Chatwin , listen to the next chapter in your car, then bounce back to your Google Docs app to spill a bit of short-term inspiration onto your own page. Writers are not entirely different from the large language models that are supposed to replace us : we take in words with our eyes, sort them in our heads, then spit them back out in a sequence that mimics a voice. E-readers can provide a point of stylistic differentiation. Maybe the L.L.M.s will learn to mimic Nabokov better than I can, but I doubt that they will ever sense the difference between “ Pale Fire ” when it’s read out loud and “Pale Fire” on the page, nor can they feel out the subtle demands this new form of reading would place upon us writers who, I imagine, will soon have to adjust our prose, even subconsciously, to move from screen to speaker to second screen. Those of us who care about human interventions into style, regardless of how subtle and ultimately insignificant they may be, can perhaps take some solace, then, in the possibility that the future of reading will be across mediums, devices, and senses. If we are truly being colonized by the algorithms and A.I., we at least have more places to hide.

One of the books that I find myself tapping on repeatedly—without ever getting past forty per cent, somehow—is Richard Brautigan’s novella “ Trout Fishing in America .” I’m not being compelled by an algorithm. But there’s a surf spot in Marin County that I used to go to which is very near the house where Brautigan, in 1984, died by suicide. Over the years, I told a handful of other surfers about the links between Brautigan and this spot, and later, whenever I would make it back out there, I would see the cropping of little houses on the hill overlooking the ocean, many of them with chicken runs and ruined vegetable-garden projects, and I would think to myself, with a great deal of embarrassment, that I still hadn’t actually finished “Trout Fishing in America.” Little compulsions like that one probably determine our online behavior more than we would like to admit. What’s particularly distressing to me is that, although I can imagine a world in which careful regulation and avoidance of algorithms makes phones less addictive, I cannot imagine myself freed from such stubborn vanities. ♦

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NY, LI need more overdose prevention centers

Naloxone, a lifesaving medication that reverses opioid overdoses, is carried at...

Naloxone, a lifesaving medication that reverses opioid overdoses, is carried at all overdose prevention centers. Credit: AP/Keith Srakocic

Every 90 minutes, a New Yorker dies from a preventable drug overdose. Long Island, too, has been ravaged; Nassau and Suffolk counties have two of the 10 highest overdose death rates in New York State. Drug overdoses have become the leading cause of death for New Yorkers under 50, with mortality rates skyrocketing over the past decade — from 8 to 30 deaths per 100,000 people. As the crisis escalates, we must turn to proven solutions: overdose prevention centers, or OPCs.

In the U.S., the first two legally sanctioned OPCs opened in 2021 in East Harlem and Washington Heights, under the nonprofit OnPoint. They reversed 1,300 overdoses in their first year. Three years later, these two centers remain the only OPCs in New York. None have been proposed on Long Island despite the need.

Overdose prevention centers provide a safe space for people struggling with addiction. They can use drugs in a supervised and hygienic environment, access health and social services, find supportive community, and make progress toward recovery. We understand there is often significant community resistance to these centers, but decades of research on OPCs in more than 50 countries has affirmed their efficacy — not only do they reduce overdose deaths, they also reduce disease transmission, public drug use, syringe litter, and drug-related crime, while expanding access to treatment. Naloxone, a lifesaving medication that reverses opioid overdoses and is carried at all OPCs, keeps participants safe and gives them another chance to enter treatment. Not a single person has died at a center, numerous studies have found.

Overdoses consistently rank in the top 15 causes for emergency room admissions. As medical students, we’ve witnessed firsthand the inadequacies of our emergency medical infrastructure in addressing substance use disorders. Our ERs are flooded. We’ve seen patients waiting up to eight hours — and the same patients returning to the ER weeks later because they were discharged to the same conditions that led to their initial overdose with no follow-up care. OPCs provide more comprehensive support and reduce ER strain; OPCs have been shown to reduce ambulance calls for overdoses by up to 67%.

This guest essay reflects the views of Aidan Pillard and Mia Pattillo, medical students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan.

Our experiences volunteering at OnPoint’s OPCs have shown us a compelling vision of what effective support for those battling addiction should involve. People find respite from the streets to shower, wash their clothes, eat a snack, and use their drugs in a safe environment. OPCs serve as gateways to physical and behavioral health services, social services, and job opportunities. The trust between staff and participants catalyzes transformations; some participants begin addiction treatment and others staff the center themselves.

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Some critics argue that OPCs increase crime and nuisance conditions in surrounding neighborhoods. But data from the two existing OPCs paints a different picture: Rates of theft, low-level drug enforcement, and police narcotics activity have all decreased. Moreover, staff engage actively with the community and solicit feedback from neighbors.

Another misconception is that OPCs condone drug use. This argument echoes past objections to harm reduction measures, such as syringe service programs introduced amid the HIV/AIDS epidemic or condom distribution on college campuses — both of which are now highly successful and widely adopted. Providing safe spaces for drug use does not serve to promote it; instead, it minimizes risk.

OPCs treat clients with dignity, save lives, and advance public health and safety. New York must expand OPCs on Long Island and elsewhere and lead the country in combating the overdose crisis.

This guest essay reflects the views of Aidan Pillard and Mia Pattillo, medical students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan.


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