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How much time do you spend on social media websites daily? There is hardly a young person in the world who does not possess a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account. We use social media primarily for communication and entertainment. We chat, upload photos and video files, read articles about various topics and play video games. The absolute number of the internet users cannot say how many hours they spend on social websites per day. They check their accounts periodically throughout the day trying to read messages from their friends or look at the new photo uploaded by their colleagues and relatives. Without question, we waste much time on social media involuntarily. We check the updates in our Facebook accounts even if we do not want to do it. Therefore, it is will not be a mistake to claim that social media websites are enormously addictive. What is more, the developers and creators of these websites make their projects addictive on purpose.
Why are social media sites addictive? The answer is very simple. Their creators strive to attract more and more users to make Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, etc. more popular. How do they manage to grab our attention? They use various tricks that influence our psychics. Nearly every social site influences our emotions.
The most popular trick is connected with numbers. For instance, when we upload a new photo, we expect to receive as many ‘likes’ as possible. If you think soberly, you will understand that your life does not depend on ‘likes’. You will not look more attractive if your photo receives 100 ‘likes’. However, our brain thinks differently. We want to please and impress our online ‘friends’ and obtain their approval. This process resembles gambling. When you have received 67 ‘likes’, you want to increase this number up to 100. Then, you think, “Why should not I receive at least 150 ‘likes’?” And you continue checking your Instagram account expecting to receive a new positive comment from a ‘friend’.
The number of ‘friends’ in Facebook or Google+ is another issue. Many people are addictive to making new and new friends in social networking sites. You have definitely seen some users who possess thousands of friends in Facebook. In my opinion, they try to improve their self-esteem and self-consciousness with the help of these dry numbers. Needless to say but you will hardly meet more that 5% of your Facebook friends in the real life. Thus, the usefulness and importance of these pen friends is questioned. Sad to say but such ‘friends’ play the role of a ‘likes’-creating machine.
Another example is related to the number of views. We will hardly watch a video clip on YouTube if it has not been watched by millions of people. We begin to enjoy and appreciate a video file if it has been approved by the enormous number of viewers. If you see that a video clip has been watched only 146 times, you will not waste your time on watching it. In fact, very few people realize that many YouTube channels increase the number of views artificially in order to attract new viewers. They make money in this way.
Then, nearly every social media website is a bottomless source of information. There is hardly a person that can resist its power. When we watch any YouTube channel devoted to animals, we will see dozens of the similar channels below. Very often, we plan to watch only one video clip but suddenly another ‘related video’ has attracted our attention. When you watch at least ten related video clips, you will understand that you have become the victim of YouTube and its unlimited information flow. You have spent several hours on ‘funny animals’ clips instead of watching the required video on black holes.
Next, such social networking sites as Facebook offer numerous video games to their clients. Young people are quite vulnerable to such offers. They begin wasting much time on playing video games instead of studying or spending their spare time outdoors.
Undoubtedly, the biggest problem associated with social media is the lack of communication. When you possess an account in social networking site, you can communicate with your friends and relatives with the help of instant messaging. However, these electronic methods cannot substitute the ‘old-fashioned’ live communication. You will not demonstrate your emotions and body language with the help of stickers or emoticons. Therefore, I suppose that social media websites separate people instead of uniting or connecting them.
Social media addiction is a relevant problem that will get even worse in future due to the rapid development of technologies. People will spend more time in the Internet and social networking sites. The only way to resist social media addiction is to train your will and devote less time to your internet activity.
The source of this research essay is Papers Mart.