Why you CAN'T quit Facebook – three tricks that keep you addicted to social media | The Sun

SOCIAL media addiction has become more prevalent in the past few years – here's why.

Without a doubt, social media has changed our lives forever – but that change is not always good.

It's true that because of Facebook, we can keep in contact with relatives in other countries.

And thanks to Instagram, we can share our thoughts or professional works with millions of users

However, there are many downsides to social media applications, experts say.

One such downside is its incredibly addictive nature – and that's not by accident.

More than 210 million people around the world claim to be addicted to social media, according to True List. 

In fact, according to several studies, social media is both physically and psychologically addictive.

And the side effects to your physical and mental health can be very serious, according to Healthline.

Why is social media so addictive?

Most social media platforms employ a variable-reward system, which works by rewarding someone when they do something specific, but not always.

Most read in Tech

seasick

Only people with strong stomachs can look at this illusion without feeling ill

SECURITY TIP

Warning for MILLIONS of WhatsApp users to change settings today – act now

SCREEN SAVER

Clever iPhone hack can save you HUNDREDS of pounds – and it's very easy to do

EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE

Check your Facebook NOW – three creepy pages prove you're being watched

Basically, someone never really knows when the next reward will come – this is seen in social media whenever you receive a like or a notification.

But when you do, your brain's reward system gets lit up in the same way that a drug addict's brain might, according to California State University.

"We have observed that the reward system [in the brain] is more active and more sensitive in people who present symptoms of addiction to social media," Ofir Turel, Ph.D., associate professor at California State University said.

"What it means is that social media provides rewarding experiences that generate dopamine in the brain, the same substance produced when we eat cake or have sex."

"Over time, it trains your brain to want to check social media more and more often."

New tools 'fuel compulsions'

As of 2021, more than 500 million Instagram users check Instagram Stories every day.

The tool, which was launched by Instagram in August 2016, has completely taken over the platform, and "fuels new levels of compulsion," Healthline writes.

"Instagram Stories work a bit like Netflix episodes, and just like them, we’re compelled to binge-watch" Dr. Raffaello Antonino, a counseling psychologist.

"The fact that they’re quick makes it even more compelling to watch one after the other," he added.

Story-type features are pervasive on most social media apps, such as TikTok, Facebook, and Snapchat.

A dopamine hit

Another method social media apps utilize to keep you addicted is the "instant gratification" of it all.

When you post something and instantly receive likes or comments, it makes you feel validated and gives your brain a dopamine hit.

Admiring comments can provide a temporary self-esteem boost, which you might crave after a while.

Over time, though, this type of behavior can become a coping mechanism for dealing with negative feelings.

What can I do?

If you're concerned about your social media dependency, you can perform a "digital detox" on yourself.

This consists of reducing or limiting the time you spend on social media.

You can ease yourself into this process by taking baby steps, such as turning off your notifications or only using certain apps for 1 to 2 hours a day.

Read More On The Sun

Lisa Marie’s heartbreaking words after finding her dad Elvis had died

Laundrie’s dad seen for first time since son’s notebook ‘murder confession’

Certain apps also come equipped with time restriction settings to notify you when you're spending too much time on them.

These steps will allow you to focus on the present moment in front of you and will in turn reduce your brain's dependency on social media.

    Source: Read Full Article