A new study in the journal Psychological Science indicates that social media may be even more addictive than alcohol or tobacco. The reasoning behind this conclusion is that alcohol and tobacco have measurable, detrimental effects on health, which deters some people because they can mentally weigh the risks. On the contrary, we are only just beginning to study the effects of Twitter and Facebook on our psyche. When asked to abstain from social media for a day, study subjects showed feelings of stress and fatigue, which are some of the same symptoms that those addicted to drugs and alcohol experience when they are going through withdrawal.
I’m sure we all know someone who has to “quit” Facebook or Twitter cold turkey after spending a little too much time stalking old high school rivals. Or perhaps you’re one of the many who contribute to YouTube’s 4 billion views per day and you’ve had to cut yourself off.
Regardless, this surely isn’t the first time that we’ve seen media coverage about the psychological effects of social media and it won’t be the last. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see warning signs listing the possible side effects of too much social media the same way we do on cigarette packs and alcohol bottles.
What about you? Are you a self-confessed social media addict? Have you ever tried to “quit” a social network?
*Image courtesy of NewMediaCreative.com