How Social Media Has Become an Addiction [Infographic]

From compulsive checking to over-sharing, we may be putting our physical and mental health at risk with our social media obsession.

Social networks take up a lot of our time. From compulsive checking and oversharing, to the loss of workout opportunities, we may be putting our physical and mental health at risk. The folks at the lifestyle blog created an infographic showing just how detrimental social media can be.

Just how deep does the problem go? Seventy-two percent of online adults use social media and the average user spends 23 hours a week on social media. These 23 hours includes texting, email and other online communication. And why are we using social media for the same amount of time as a part-time job? Sixty-seven percent of surveyed users said that they’re afraid they’ll “miss something.” This fear runs so deep that nearly 40 percent of users aged 18 to 34 check their social networks first thing in the morning, before anything else.

But what’s the harm? Fifty percent of users surveyed by the University of Salford, U.K., said social networks made their life worse. Self esteem falls because of constant peer comparison, 66 percent lose sleep after spending time on social networks, and 25 percent have work or personal relationship problems because of online confrontations.

It seems we’re addicted and it may truly be a brain chemistry problem. A study from Harvard University showed that self-disclosure online fires up a part of the brain that also lights up when taking an addictive substance, like cocaine. Eighty percent of our online conversations are self-disclosure, compared to 30 to 40 percent of offline conversations. And with such huge audiences online, it’s very easy to get hooked.

To see how much exercise you could get — and how many cheeseburgers that would burn — if you spend 30 percent less time on social media, check out the infographic below:



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