Are you addicted to social media?
Categories: Science & Technology
A recent study found that the desire to check in on your social media feeds can be more addictive than cigarettes, alcohol and other commonly cited cravings.
In a study conducted by the Chicago University's Booth School of Business, 205 people in Wurzberg, Germany were given BlackBerrys to communicate their desires over a seven-day period.
Researchers sent the subject messages asking them about their current desires. The subjects would then detail them, along with the strength of the desire (up to irresistible) in a message back. In all, 7,827 desire reports were logged.
The results of the study may be surprising.
"Desires for sleep and sex were experienced most intensively, whereas desires for tobacco and alcohol had the lowest average strength," according to the study's abstract.
Meanwhile, "desires for media use and work brought about the most self-control failure," suggesting that we really can't help ourselves when it comes to checking our news feeds and social media updates.
Head researcher Wilhelm Hofman told The Guardian that the availability and short time commitment probably contributed social media's prevalence, as well as the fact that it doesn't come with the implied costs of other vices.
"With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs - long-term as well as monetary - and the opportunity may not always be the right one," said Hofman. "So, even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may still 'steal' a lot of people's time."
Meanwhile, a report by online security app maker Lookout found that 60 per cent of Americans couldn't go for an hour without checking their phones. When they misplaced their phones, 73 per cent said they felt "panicked," while 14 per cent said they felt "desperate."
The study also suggests that location and social context gets thrown out the window when it comes to the phone - 30 per cent admitted to checking their phones during a meal with others, 24 per cent while driving, and 39 per cent while in the bathroom.
When we last asked the CBC Community whether they believed the internet can be as addictive as cigarettes or alcohol, 78 per cent of respondents said "Yes."
It seems that this new research agrees with them.
Are you addicted to checking your mobile phones for work or social media updates? Do you feel the craving for new "Likes" more than for sweet foods, alcohol or other common vices?
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
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