Social media addiction

Social media addiction

Social media addiction

  • Type of paperResearch Paper
  • SubjectOther
  • Number of pages6
  • Format of citationHarvard
  • Number of cited resources3
  • Type of serviceWriting from scratch

You are required to produce a research report that enables you to answer the following research question: “Is the use of social media an addiction?” To complete this report, you must carry out your own research (primary research), as well as researching published sources of information about this subject area. Your research report must be written using the recommended report format – refer to the ‘Academic Writing Skills’ unit for more detail. The report should be a maximum of 1,500 words in length. GUIDANCE Within the report, you will need to: • Clearly explain the purpose of your report, and the research methodology that you intend to use. • Analyse the findings from your primary research and present the data in appropriate ways so as to support your analysis. If you produce graphs, charts and/or tables, you are advised to add these to an Appendix at the end of your report and refer to these within your text where appropriate. • Analyse information that you have researched from recognised, published sources. This is referred to as a literature review. • Compare the analysis from your primary research to the analysis of the literature review, so that you are able to form an analytical argument as to whether or not the use of social media is an addiction. This should result in you being able to analyse alternative points of view and evaluate data in terms of its relevance to the argument. • Produce conclusions and recommendations that stem from the findings of your report, and that are relevant to issues you have raised. • Ensure that relevant theory is referenced where appropriate, and that a references list and bibliography are provided. • A copy of your survey, questionnaire and/or interview transсrіptions must be included in the appendix. Tip – refer to the draft assignment plan you produced for unit 4 as this will help you to get started! Hide Assessment Criteria AC 1.1: Identify and explain the rationale for a clearly focused area of study AC 2.1: Analyse information from a wider range of sources AC 2.2: Work within clearly defined parameters and established terms of reference AC 2.3: Discuss the theoretical concepts, methodology and principles of enquiry within chosen discipline AC 3.1: Summarise a relevant and analytical argument AC 3.2: Analyse alternative points of view. AC 3.3: Evaluate data in terms of relevance to the argument AC 4.1: Use a standard form of referencing AC 4.2: Use a range of terminology and or techniques to present data effectively AC 5.1: Draw conclusions from the data and present the findings of the study. AC 5.2: Make recommendations relevant to the issues raised.

Social media addiction

Social networking sites are non-factual communities where users create their profiles as they interact with their friends and meet other people based on their interests.  More so, social networking sites are web-based services where individuals construct a semi-public profile within a bounded system as they articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection. The web users connected view and to traverse their list of links and those created by other users within the system. The mass appeal of social networks on the internet could potentially be a cause of concern, in particular when looking at the gradually increasing amounts of time persons are spending online (Ellison, 2013 pp.210-230). On the internet sites, users engage in various activities some of which end up being addictive. Instead of becoming addicted to the social networking sites medium itself, some internet users develop addictive personalities to specific social media activities they carry out in the networks. Specifically, Young argues that there are five different types of internet addiction, such as computer addiction, information overload, net compulsions, cyber sexual addiction, and cyber relationship’s addiction that is an addiction to online relationships. From a clinical experts perspective, ‘Social Networking Sites Addiction Disorder’ bring addiction criteria, like neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, escapism, mood modifying experiences, tolerance, and concealing the addictive behavior, appear to be present in some people who use social networking sites excessively (Cohen, 2015). Moreover, scholars have suggested that a combination of biological, psychological and social factors contributes to the addictive elements that may also hold true for social networking sites addiction. Recent scientific literature has significantly suggested that social media usage can be addictive concerning emerging phenomenon of internet social network usage.

An elaborate literature review was conducted using academic database Web of knowledge as well as Google Scholar. The following terms, as well as their derived terms, were used: social network, online network, adduction, compulsive, excessive use, abuse, comorbidity, and personality. The studies assessed whether they include parameters like empirical data referred to usage patterns, motivations for usage, and negative consequences of use, addiction and or comorbidity and social media specificity. Different empirical studies were identified from the literature review which specifically assessed social networking sites addiction.

Social networking sites are perceived to be a global consumer phenomenon, and they have experienced a recognizable increase in its usage in the recent years. Of all internet users, about one third takes part in social networking sites and ten percent of the total time used online is used on social media sites (Ellison, 2013 pp.210-230). Looking at usage, the results of the Parents and Teenagers survey 2006 with an estimated sample of 935 participants in America showed that 55% of youths used social networking sites in that selected year. The reasons for the reported usage were found to be keeping in touch with friends as other users used it to make new friends. Keeping in touch with friends was more common in boys than observed in girls. Girls were found to use social media sites to maintain their contacts with their existing friends rather than making new ones. Besides, half of the teenagers in the survey visited their social media sites at least once in a day which was indicative of the fact that to keep an attractive profile, sites frequent visits are necessary, and this is a factor that facilitates potential in the excessive use of social media and its addiction. Moreover, based on the results of consumer study, the overall social media usage increased by around two hours every month to about 5.5 hours as active participation rose by 30% from 2009 to 2010.

In addition to the above findings, the results of the presented research indicate that compared to the general population, teenagers and students make the most use of social media networking sites by using the Web 2.0 features. Also, there appear to be gender differences in social media usage. The specifics of which are only vaguely defined and thus they require more empirical investigation to social media usage. More so, social networking sites are used mostly for social purposes of which getting more information from friends pages appears to be much lovable. This, in turn, is linked to the activation of the appetitive system, which indicates engagements in the activity of social networking. The social engagement activity further stimulates the neurological pathway related to addiction experience of social media networking sites.

Another parameter of social networking sites is the motivation that comes as result of its addiction. Facebook in particular, as a difference as it is a function of motivation. According to uses and gratification theory, media are used in a goal-directed way for gratification and need satisfaction, and these have similarities with addiction (Cohen, 2015). Therefore persons with higher social identity, higher altruism, and higher Tele presence have tendencies of using social media networking sites because they perceive encouragements as they participate in social networks. The above studies were backed up by Barker who analyzed and found collective self-esteem and group identification positively relating to peer group communication through social media networking sites.

Personality traits are also associated with the extent of social networking sites usage. The findings of some studies show that people with significant offline networks, who seem to be more extroverted, and who poses higher self-esteem, use Facebook for social uplifting. Conversely, the size of person’s online social networks has a relation in a positive way with life satisfaction and well being. These systems have neither an effect on the size of the offline networking nor the emotional closeness to persons in real life networking. In support of social media addiction, scientist studied high self-disclosure on social networking sites, and they found that it to have a positive correlation with measures subject o well-being. Despite this, it remains in question whether low self-disclosure on social networks may be related to higher risk for potential addiction. As the users disclose more personal information on their pages, they tend to put themselves at the risk of adverse feedbacks leading to lower well-being. Due to this, the association between self-disclosure on networking sites and addiction needs to be addressed empirically in future studies.

Researchers have indicated that the excessive use of upcoming technologies has an addiction to young people. Adding on to this, scholars have hypothesized that vulnerable young people with different tendencies are in particular prone to social networks engagements in a severe addictive manner. Separate studies were conducted to analyze social media addiction among young students who were mainly from the teenage groups.  In the first study, 233 undergraduate university students were included in the survey using a different prospective method to find high-level use intentions and senior usage of social networks through an expounded model of the theory of planned behavior. One week after the completion of the first questionnaire, participants were asked to show how many days during the last week that had visited social networking sites. The participants indicated that they on average visited the social sites at least four times a day. The results of the study found that past behavior, attitude, subjective norm, and self-identity importantly found both behavioral intention as well as actual personal behavior (Milgram et al 2012 pp.61-67). Also, there were seen addictive tendencies with regards to social networking sites usage significantly found in self-identity and feelings of belongingness. As a result of identifying oneself as a social network user and looking for a sense of self-belongingness on social networks appeared to be at a risk of addiction on the social networking sites.

In another study, an Australian university student random sample of 201 participants was conducted to assess personality factors through the short version of the NEO Personality Inventory. The addictive tendencies scale included three items which measured salience, withdrawal, and loss of control. The findings of a multiple regression analysis found that high extraversion and low conscientiousness scores importantly predicted both addictive tendencies and amount of time spent on social networking sites.  The researchers indicated the relationship between extraversion and addictive behaviors could be due to the fact which explains social network usage satisfies the extroverts need to socialize.

In a different study, Karaiskos et al. show a case of a 24- year old female who used social networks to a level that her behavior affected her professional and personal life. As a result, she was referred to a psychiatric clinic. She usually used facebook for almost five hours every day and got dismissed from her job because of continued checking of her social networking sites accounts rather than working. In addition to the woman’s excessive use of social media which led to significant impairment in a variety of areas, she also developed anxiety symptoms as well as insomnia which suggestively points to the clinical relevance of social media networking addictions.

With the emergence of social networking sites such as Facebook, overall social network sites have increased in a way that they are considered a global consumer phenomenon. Facebook users alone are estimated to be around 500 million in the world who participate actively in the social network. Studies suggest that between 55% and 82% of teenagers and middle-aged adults use social networking sites regularly. Regarding social demographics, the studies conducted found that overall social network usage patterns differ. Females use social networks for communication with other peer group members. On the other hand, males use the social networks to compensate themselves socially, learning and also social activity gratifications. Other studies that studied age and social media usage found that social media sites usage varies as a function of age. It found that older people rarely used social media networking sites and they were a small number of internet consumers (Milgram et al 2012 pp.61-67). The younger generations differed from the latter group as a more significant percentage of young persons are addicted to social networking sites usage.

Overall, the different engagements in social media networking sites like social searching and also the personality traits that were found to be associated with greater extents of social media usage may serve as an anchor point for future studies regarding explaining populations at risk of getting social media addictions. Researchers are recommended to look for the factors that are more specific to social networking sites usage addiction. The factors include: pragmatics, attractions, communications and different expectations of social networks use because these may predict the cause of addiction among the various groups of users.  Finally, social networks on the internet are Web2.0 phenomena that offer the potential to become part of collective intelligence. However, the much mental health problems of excessive consumption and addiction to social media usage are yet to be established using the best scientific methods.







Cohen, E., 2015. Five Clues That You Are Addicted to Face book-CNN International-Breaking, World, Business, Sports, Entertainment and Video News.

Ellison, N.B., 2012. Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of ComputerMediated Communication13(1), pp.210-230.

Travers, J. and Milgram, S., 2013. The small world problem. Psychology Today1, pp.61-67