When Social Media first came out, I thought the name wasn’t appropriate for there isn’t anything social about it. As human beings, we need to interact face to face with others so we can have conversations, watch our facial expressions and understand what we are saying to each other.
Are We All Addicted?
Social media has been a tremendous help with the pandemic. As we haven’t been social throughout this time, we have seen friends, family and participated in meetings, classes and ceremonies on-line.
From the time we wake up until we go to bed, we are constantly on our cell phones or other mobile devices. Addiction explains why people still drive and use their cell phones. They are addicted to know who is calling or they just have to make another call or send another text. Everyone knows not to use a cell phone when driving because the driver must concentrate on the road at all times. Addiction has taken over and people can’t stop using the cell phone when on the road which has caused tragic accidents and sometimes death.
I’ve also noticed people on cell phones when walking down the street sometimes never look up. I had a near crash with one person who wasn’t looking where she was going but madly typing away on her phone. Fortunately, we both didn’t get hurt but she should have paid attention to where she was walking instead of being so distracted.
The Proof of Addiction
A new book written by Adam Atler, a professor at NYU, is called Irresistible. He lays out the evidence for the hidden danger in our lives called behavioral addiction. From tracking social media “likes” to constantly counting our steps, we are being guided by the technologies we use.
Instead of letting addiction rule our lives, we can take steps to live more productively. This behavorial addiction is preventing us from forming meaningful relationships, raising empathetic children, and separating work from sleep and play. Who would have thought a decade ago that Facebook would attract 1.5 billion users? As the author suggests, many of these users wish they spent less time on the site. Also Instagram users spend hours uploading and liking sixty million new photos every day on the app. More than twenty million people daily count and monitor their every step with a small wrist-bound device.
Suggestions he makes include workplaces shutting down at six pm and disabling work email accounts between midnight and five am the next morning. Games, similar to books with chapters, can be built with natural stopping points. Social media platforms can demetricate which is removing the numerical feedback allowing damaging social comparison and chronic goalsetting. Children can be introduced to screens slowly under supervision instead of all at once. Our culture needs to make space for a work-free, game-free, screen-free downtime to make it easier to resist the lure of behavioral addiction. This will result in us communicating with others directly which will make us happier than any screen time or device could ever do!
SOURCE: Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology And The Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter