Are you addicted to Twitter? Does the thought of not being able to check what’s happening on Facebook drive you mad?
If your answer to either of these questions is ‘yes’, then you might find some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. A new study has revealed that, for many, social media is more addictive than nicotine and alcohol… and harder to turn down than even sex.
These findings come courtesy of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, who monitored more than 200 individuals aged 18-85 in Germany over a week, tracking their ability to resist common everyday urges. Participants were given a mobile device and had to report every 30 minutes on any desires that they were feeling, rating them from “strong” to “irresistible”.
And the results? The urge to check Twitter and Facebook was harder to resist than smoking, drinking alcohol and even sleeping, and, for several, love-making. Conversely, a person’s dedication to their job is harder to break than other habits which are, traditionally, seen as far more addictive.
“Resisting the desire to work was likewise prone to fail,” said Wilhelm Hofmann, lead author of the study. “In contrast, people were relatively successful at resisting sports inclinations, sexual urges and spending impulses, which seems surprising given the salience in modern culture of disastrous failures to control sexual impulses and urges to spend money.
“Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not cost much to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist,” concluded Hofmann.