The decision-making attributes of excessive social media users has been likened to those of drug addicts and gamblers in an explosive new study designed to raise awareness about the hidden mental health traps affecting young adults online.
New research led by Michigan State University, in collaboration with Monash University and McGill University, shows the risky decision-making behaviours of social media overusers is comparable to people battling substance addiction. Findings were published in the Journal of Behavior Addictions on Friday 11 January 2019.
Professor Antonio Verdejo-Garcia from the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN) and co-author of the study said their results had important societal implications.
According to the 2018 Yellow Social Media Report compiled by Sensis:
– 37% of 18-29-year-olds felt anxious when unable to access their social media accounts. – – More than one third of people now access their social media in excess of five times per day.
“Social media use is ubiquitous and continues to grow with many individuals displaying anxious and even conflictive behaviour when attempting to withdraw from these online channels,” Professor Verdejo-Garcia, the only Australian research contributor, said. “We hope our research findings, which demonstrate a behavioural similarity between excessive social networking site use, substance use and behavioural addictive disorders, can influence the beliefs and actions of policy makers, therapists and tech industry leaders to take action against problematic online behaviour.”
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