Too Much Social Media Use Is Similar To Drug Addiction: Study

Social Media
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A new study conducted by the researchers from Michigan State University revealed that people who are using too much social media tend to make risky decision-making, which is a common behavior of drug addiction. The study was published in the Journal of Behavior Addictions.

Lead author Dar Meshi, who is also an assistant professor at MSU, said the majority of people around the world are using social media, and some were engaged too much in using it. Their research suggests that excessive social media use is comparable to drug addiction, so their findings urged people to take social media overuse seriously, the MedicalXpress reported.

Meshi said that bad decision making is often common among people with substance use disorders. Sometimes, they fail to learn from their mistakes and will continue doing such wrong actions. Now, the study analyzed whether risky decision making is also common among social media users.

Researchers investigated a possible parallel between substance abusers and excessive social media users. Although they didn't check for the possible cause of bad decision making, they still tested the correlation with problematic social media use.

Meshi, along with his co-authors, surveyed 71 participants and measured their psychological dependence on Facebook. The participants were asked if they had attempted to quit the platform if it had created a negative impact on their job or studies, how they feel when they couldn't use it, and their preoccupation with the platform.

After that, the research team had the participants do the Iowa Gambling Task - a common psychological task used by psychologists to measure real-life decision making. To complete the task, participants identify outcome patterns in decks of cards to pick the best possible deck.

The team has found that by the end of the task, those who picked the bad decks use too much social media, while those who picked the better ones were less engaged in social media. The result is similar to substance abusers. Those who abuse methamphetamine, opioids, or cocaine had similar outcomes on the Iowa Gambling Task. The findings indicate that social media addicts and substance abusers were both poor in decision making.

Meshi noted it's important to understand the impact of too much social media use since many people around the world are using it. Even though it has benefits, it still carries a bad side, especially when people started abusing it.

"We need to better understand this drive so we can determine if excessive social media use should be considered an addiction," Meshi noted.

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