Is Social Media Addictive?

How long can you go without looking at you smartphone?


fhs student scrolling through social media

Nimish Sajan, Staff Reporter

Over the previous decade, checking and browsing through social media has become increasingly popular. According to experts, as many as 5 to 10% of Americans currently fulfill the criteria for social media addiction. Social media addiction is a type of behavioral addiction defined by excessive concern about social media, an uncontrolled want to log on to or use social media, and investing so much time and effort to social media that it interferes with other vital aspects of one’s life. Social media is physically and psychologically addicted due to the effect it has on the brain.

Self-disclosure on social networking sites, according to a new Harvard University research, activates the same area of the brain that is activated while using an addictive drug. Decisions and experiences are influenced by the reward region of the brain and its chemical messenger pathways. Dopamine levels rise when neurons in the brain’s main dopamine-producing regions are engaged by pleasurable experiences or the use of addictive substances. As a result, the brain receives a “reward,” and the medication or action is associated with positive reinforcement.