By Lisa Cannon Green
Social-media users may not show up at your church’s Celebrate Recovery program—but perhaps they should.
In today’s always-online world, experts increasingly say social media can be an addiction.
Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter use the same techniques as gambling companies to keep users on their sites, The Guardian reports.
“These methods are so effective they can activate similar mechanisms as cocaine in the brain, create psychological cravings and even invoke ‘phantom calls and notifications’ where users sense the buzz of a smartphone, even when it isn’t really there,” The Guardian says.
In the Washington Post, Mark Griffiths and Daria Kuss, psychologists at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K., list six questions they say can help people determine whether they’re addicted:
- Do you spend a lot of time, when you’re not online, thinking about social media or planning to use it?
- Do you feel urges to use social media more and more over time?
- Do you use it to forget about personal problems?
- Do you often try to reduce your use of social media, without success?
- Do you become restless or troubled if you are unable to use social media?
- Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job, relationship or studies?
“If you answered ‘yes’ to a few of these questions, it’s likely that you are a fairly standard, habitual social media user,” Griffiths and Kuss write.
“However, if you answered ‘yes’ to most or all of these questions, then you may have or be developing an actual addiction to using social media.”
Yet Americans may not be troubled by parallels between social-media use and addictive behavior such as gambling.
Two-thirds of Americans don’t think it’s morally wrong to bet on sports, a 2016 survey from Lifeway Research found.
The U.S. Supreme Court apparently agrees. In a 6-3 decision on Monday (May 14), the court struck down a 1992 law that prevented state-authorized sports gambling outside of Nevada.
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LISA CANNON GREEN (@lisaccgreen) is senior editor of Facts & Trends.