After enjoying #hooked, I asked if Dr. Jantz would be willing to share with us some signs of social media addiction. He shared the questions below. Enjoy!
Technology should simplify things, making it easier to control our busy, over-scheduled lives. Unfortunately, addiction complicates things, and social media is no exception. If you answer “yes” to any or all of the following questions, you may be addicted, which means social media is controlling you.
1) Importance: How important has social media become to your sense of self and the way you live your life?
- Is logging onto Facebook, or other social media sites, the first thing you think about and/or do when you wake up in the morning?
- Do you feel like you have somehow failed or fallen short if you don’t post updates, or comment on other people’s updates, at least once a day?
- When you are out with friends or family, traveling, or engaged in other recreational activities, do you feel more focused on what you’re going to post about the experience than actually enjoying it?
2) Reward response: Does doing it make you feel better, more in control, and does not doing it make you feel worse?
- Do you watch and wait for responses to your posts, more fulfilled with every new comment you get, or disappointed and anxious about posts that get little or not response at all?
- Does getting a positive response (i.e., reward) feed the need to post even more?
- Does getting a negative response, or none at all, leave you feeling less-than, feeding the need to post again in hopes you will get the reward you want?
3) Prevalence: Do you find yourself doing it more often and for longer periods of time than you originally planned?
- Do you lose track of time on Facebook and other social media sites?
- Do you find yourself checking in on your social media sites every time you have a lull in your schedule or conversation?
- Do you feel guilty for all frequency and length of time you’re spending on social media, but find yourself unable to stop?
4) Cessation: Do you feel anxious or uncomfortable if you cannot do it or if you just think about not doing it?
- Is it difficult for you to imagine decreasing the number of times you post or check in on your social media sites? For instance, if you normally post three times a day, does it feel possible for you to post only once?
- Do you feel as though you would be somehow incomplete or disconnected from the world if you were to go a week, or even a day, without logging on?
5) Disruption: Has doing it disrupted your life and your relationships, causing interpersonal or personal conflicts over what you’re doing?
- Is social media distracting from time you should be spending on work?
- Is social media distracting from time you should be spending with family and/or friends?
- Do you find yourself preferring to engage with people online instead talking to the friends or family sitting next to you in the car or at the dinner table?
- Have your posts, or the posts of others, revealed personal information, thoughts or feelings that have caused pain and/or damaged relationships?
6) Reverting: Do you often say to yourself you’re going to do something different but then turn around and keep doing the same thing or doing it even more?
- Have you tried unsuccessfully to decrease the number of times you check or post to your Facebook, or other social media sites?
- Do you feel ashamed for your seeming inability to cut back on your social media use, further fueling your need for “reward response” (i.e., engaging even more so as to start feeling better about yourself)?