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Social Media Habits & Addictions

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Viswamitra, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Impulse control disorder is the term that is generally used for those who have the habit of excessive smoking and/or drinking and/or drug consumption. Even though it is also used for commonly found habits like nail-biting, touching the goatee or mustache or adjusting the hair frequently and so on but these are generally considered not harmful. Recently, technology addiction is added as an impulse control disorder that involves the obsessive use of mobile devices, the internet or video games, despite negative consequences to the user of the technology. The disorder may also be referred to as digital addiction or internet addiction or social media addiction.

    Digital addiction can result in what is referred to as anhedonia. In his book, “Thrilled to Death”, Dr. Archibald Hart unpacks the subject of anhedonia. Anhedonia is a result of digital addiction and multi-tasking taken to unhealthy levels. According to Psychology Today, neuroscience now suggests that the brain’s reaction to digital addiction is similar in part to the reaction to tobacco products, alcohol and gambling addictions. In the medical and mental health field, anhedonia is understood as a symptom of depression, schizophrenia, or drug addiction. Anhedonia is a destruction of the pleasure center in the brain that doesn’t allow a person to experience pleasure from the things of life that should bring pleasure.

    What are the symptoms of digital addiction? If we turn around to pick up our phone after driving our automobile for half an hour on a total one-hour journey to our destination, it is addiction. We have lived in the past without an emergency phone in our pocket. If we begin thinking in abbreviated vocabulary such as “wrb”, “lol”, “ttyl”, etc. in response to something, it means we are getting addicted to social media. If we are compulsively picking up the phone while driving to look at the text messages or other social media when we hear the message coming in, then, we have an addiction. If we are sharing our best life events including the location with our friends and family always through social media, we are addicted to social media as well.

    Unfortunate part of this addiction is, we forget the life is filled with both positives and negatives and we begin focusing our attention to only positives as we need to compulsively post it in social media. The negative part of our lives gets little or virtually (no pun intended) no attention for us to analyze and put ourselves on growth and development path. Our self-esteem is determined by the number of likes we receive and if someone gets more likes than us, we even tend to pull out our post because we begin to believe we were snubbed by the social media friends. Even a minor event in our lives become a selfie opportunity and we begin to think everything from a social media angle as opposed to enjoying the present moment.

    How can we overcome this addiction? We need to begin to enjoy outdoor more either through walking or running or even just observing the nature. We can break that habit by leaving the phone or other gadgets away (electronic diet) for an hour or two every day and even rearranging the access to gadgets by putting them far away from your living room. We can think of limiting our social media/internet access to a certain time limit. We can mix some activities by creating new projects to be done away from the electronic gadgets at home or outside or set aside reading a real printed book (no electronic reading please). We can even think of attending a concert. It is really alarming to see that children less than 2 years age knows how to navigate gadgets even before they begin talking fluently. The teenagers are now called screenagers because of this reason.

    I am attaching two videos one describing what we are missing because of internet addiction and the other describing how to set right our cluttered mind from internet addiction.





    In the interest of brevity, I wrote only what I considered critical. There is so much to write about it. Please feel free to share your ideas and thoughts in response here.
     
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  2. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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    Very true @Viswamitra
    Everyone seems to know about everything thanks to Google, but do not know how their Uncles, Aunts, Cousins are doing?
    Social media seems to become a source of projecting a false image of their lives.
    Our nurse, just yesterday was telling about a friend who hates her husband, but keeps posting pictures of both of them smiling and happy. It seems she chided her friend for this false projection and pretension.

    Parents are the only role models here. The more they stop using social media their children will learn. no shortcuts here at all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  3. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The 'Attention Economy' means mega bucks for tech corporations. I am familiar with this industry and the tactics they use are frankly insidious. Few people realize that social media is addictive by design. There are teams of psychologists and statisticians at Facebook, Instagram etc., whose sole objective is to find ways to make you spend more and more time on these platforms and to keep you returning to them compulsively. The 'likes' and quotes on Indusladies and elsewhere are positively reinforcing. The behavior of checking IL is rewarded by, and thus reinforced, by the tiny spike of pleasure we receive by seeing the notifications on the top right corner. Even the color of the notification — red — was chosen to be maximally attractive to our eyes and brain. Sometimes you log in and you see lots of notifications, other times you don't — this type of irregular reward is what prevents us from getting accustomed to the pleasure of receiving likes and thus maintains their ability to keep bringing us back. It is attention hacking 101.

    My small acts of defiance against this digital manipulation include, staying off most social media platforms, turning off notifications on IL and being mindful of the times I reach for a digital distraction like my phone. Just the act of pausing and consciously thinking about what I am about to do helps head off triggers that cause mindless use of technology. When I pick up my phone I try to mentally state a purpose for doing so and if I can't come up with something convincing I put it away. Works more often that you would think.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @kkrish,

    The physical social interaction has become minimal. Most project the best of their life in the social media. After sometime, they will begin believing the life they are projecting in the internet as real and hence any real issues in life would become unmanageable. The social media has a profound impact in the mental faculty including self-esteem.

    When parents are away at work, the children are in social media and when they return, if the parents pay attention to the social media, then, it confirms to the children that they are in the right track. All electronic gadgets need to be put away for a few hours and there has to be a social interaction among the family members. There should be no gadgets while the children are having dinner and certainly they should never be allowed to take their phones to the bed.
     
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  5. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Attention Economy is taking the humanity away from people as they themselves calculate how many eyeballs have looked at the ads promoted in the social media and other apps. The amount of personal data gathered by these social media platforms including the surfing habits are dangerous intrusion into the lifestyle of the individuals. There is so much discussion taking place now about Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order on an American citizen to tap their communications. But no one is paying attention to how much an average American is monitored by these social media platforms making them susceptible to many risks. I associated myself with a start up company developing a social media platform some time back and understood how they develop the platform keeping in mind not only how to attract attention from the users but also introduce others and keep all of them stay in that platform. Celebrities who have many followers are paid in order to use a platform so that many will get introduced with a new platform.

    Your plan to resist the social media full course meal is spectacular. I move between my computer screen desk to an ordinary old desk to read something even during work. I walk away from work for a few minutes every two hours to chat with my family and to stay away from checking the social media notifications. I definitely put away my smart phone when I go to sleep. My phone gives me breakdown of screen time and I sincerely take effort to review it everyday where I spent most of the time and how long I spent everyday. While I drive, I silence my phone, keep it in my pocket and never access it until I reach the destination. Small actions like that become tendencies, small such tendencies become habits, small such habits become character and the character becomes our destiny. No one can teach how to control our social media use better than our own impulse control.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  6. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    Everybody complains about weather but nobody can do anything about it. My phone records my screen time, which is sort of a coaxing me to spend more time or less time it does not say. The ipad and laptop spares me, thankfully. All in all I may be spending a good amount of my waking time reading, news, debates, social media like whatsapp, facebook. I do have my other activities, other than daily chorus, like walking, newspaper reading, sudoku, jumbled up words and so on.
    I guess, these gadgets have replaced many things of yesterdays. It has become a part of life for people who have no other avenue for time pass. One can see the restlessness if internet is off.
    It is not only social media, even we are not talking now, we text, message or whatsapp in family. At times its convenient, time saving and helps in handling other work also.
    I would certainly not equate it with drug or alcohol but it is an addiction just as, gossiping is.
     
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  7. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    A timely write-up, Viswa. The end of the year is when we tend to take stock of the year and even if we don't formally make new year resolutions, being surrounded by so many reminders of the year change, we tend to devote time to what changes we'd like to make in the new year in our lives.

    One image that has stuck in my mind is from many years ago. In his late night show, David Letterman, showed a human left-hand that had evolved in shape to hold a smartphone.

    I've been lucky that never got hooked to FB and whatsapp. They still remain a necessary app on my phone. And even luckier that my close friends never even started to use FB or whatsapp. : ) With other social media like IL, what has helped me is to ask myself periodically, "OK, why do you spend (so much) time on this." The Likes and number of responses in a thread have long ceased to give a high : ) and the answer to the "why" makes me think. I found that mostly it is a diversion from other work. In some ways, my social media use for me is like a child reading a story book instead of a textbook needed for homework. I could survive fine if I lost access to my social media accounts or even the internet. But, I'd then go read cached Wikipedia. : ) The problem is a little more defined - what percentage of my screen time or reading/writing time is productive.

    I have a niggling feeling my response doesn't make much sense. But those are what I thought of after reading the snippet. And I did make a resolution to line up more weekend outings. Luckily the family is happy to go out just that the destination and planning I have to do.
     
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  8. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Hari Sir,

    You are correct about the restlessness associated with broadband not working. Two years back, we had a major hurricane in Florida resulting in no power for 5 days. Everyone of us were thrown out not knowing what to do without internet more than the electricity needed for the lights and airconditioner. First two days, my son and I spent cleaning up the yard but the next 3 days were really hard.

    Regarding equating it with drug or alcohol, it depends on how much one is addicted. I know many families were the children spend nearly 12-14 hours in playing video games depriving themselves from good night sleep. The psychologists are saying that such kind of use of electronic devices will kill the space in our brain which allows us to enjoy pleasure from normal life. It might be different for those who need to kill time.
     
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  9. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Rihana,

    It is always a pleasure to receive a response from you. It so happened my moral classes end this week and the next two weeks are holidays for the children. I finished a module on "Circle of influence and its effects in life" for those children who are about to leave their nest in the next few years. Before I commence the next module, I decided to do one simple class on "Social Media Habits and Addictions" and created a lesson plan for them. This thread is the outcome of this plan.

    I am so happy to know that you never got hooked to Facebook or Whatsapp. I closed my Facebook account two years ago and frankly Whatsapp was introduced to me only two years back when I went to India. Even now, I am a limited user of Whatsapp and I use it only to respond to friends and family. As you said, IL is a relaxing field for me away from my work for a few minutes unless it is the weekend when I might spend some time reading a few snippets and other threads. Frankly, the links provided by the ILs here has educated me a lot more to get into new areas that I never knew than my organized research on subjects of my interest.

    I broke my Android phone two weeks back and bought a new iPhone 11 which excited me to spend more screen time for a week to learn more about iPhone 11. Like a kid carrying the new toy everywhere, I was with the phone for a week even inside the house. The screen time is coming down a lot this week. I was sick during Thanks Giving holidays and I noticed that was also another reason for my high screen time.

    Your response was directly as a result of your experience and it is always welcome. We end up spending more time at home because I work from home and we have my MIL to take care. Besides, Orion (Puppy) needs attention always from his grandpa or grandma and wherever we go, we end up coming home in 2-3 hours. The hospice, weekend shopping, spiritual center, moral classes for the children, etc. are great diversion for me away from the screen time. I am also spending more time with Orion nowadays. :)
     
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  10. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Viswa,

    A vivid and thorough analysis about the internet addiction that is gripping not only the young, but also the old.

    I am seeing young mothers giving their mobile to 6 months old children to play with, so that the child could be kept away from it’s annoying and irritating temper tantrums. The younger generation is glued to the FB and What’s app, counting likes, forwarding messages, posting selfies, updating status etc, which many times land them, particularly the girls in unnecessary mess. This is the time to upgrade skills, learn things, have some goals in life, try to achieve things- instead we see youth wasting precious time.

    Old people also can be seen checking their phones thousand times a day, instead of pursuing a hobby, reading books or doing some exercises. I think it’s time for everyone to undergo a self analysis as to how to get out of this dangerous addiction.

    Agatha83
     

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