For a variety of reasons, it seems many people would be lost these days without access to technology. My brother described an internet free week as ‘claustrophobic’ and I doubt he is alone in feeling this way. The video below provides an interesting and slightly depressing description of some of the effects of social networking.
Even without research to suggest it, most of us know or would agree that internet usage, gaming and social networking are addictive (Yu, Wu & Pesigan 2016). Pria reports that 13 million Australians spend over eighteen hours per day on the internet and one in five minutes a day is spent on social media (Pria.com.au 2016).
But does social networking make us more social? Or more antisocial? Social networking sites have been accused of providing ways to self-promote, post vanity photos and host a number of shallow relationships (Buffardi & Campbell 2008, p. 1303).
Twenge (2013 p. 11) points out twenty years ago, mobiles were rare, the internet was relatively unknown and very few people emailed. As these technologies are still relatively new, research on social media effects and the Internet is still in the early stages (Twenge 2013, p. 12).
But some research shows the Internet may help individuals who have difficulty forming and bonding with others (Bargh & McKenna, 2004). Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe (2007) suggest social media may encourage the formation of weak ties however, is unlikely to produce closely bonded relationships. While Facebook may allow users to expand their ‘friend’ network, it may lead to fewer in-person friends (Twenge 2013, p. 17). Twenge (2013) believes research indicates that spending time on social media results on individuals focusing more on themselves.
People with high social networking usage frequently report problems in other aspects of their lives, such as quality of sleep, poor academic performance and complicated romantic relationships (Yu, Wu & Pesigan 2016). A study conducted by Yu, Wu and Pesigan (2016) identified loneliness and negative outcome expectancies as risk factors for social networking addictions.
While much research is still being conducted, I made a small survey on social media usage. I am using social media to invite people to fill out the survey, if you would like to participate click the link below:
The information I gathered from my own survey was quite interesting. 66% of participants were registered to between 3-5 social media platforms and 50% checked social media between 10-20 times a day. All participants were worried about privacy and agreed that social media had quite an impact on their lives. 70% revealed they used social media for multiple reasons including sharing videos, filling up time and keeping in touch with friends.
Bargh, J & McKenna, K 2004, “The Internet and social life”, Annual Review of Psychology, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 573-590
Buffardi, L. E & Campbell, W. K 2008, “Narcissism and social networking websites”, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 34, no. 10, pp. 1303-1314
Ellison, N. B, Steinfield, C & Lampe, C 2007, “The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Captial and College Students’ Use of Online Social Networking Sites”, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 1143-1167
Pria.com.au (2016) 13 million Australians spend 18 hours a day online – Public Relations Institute of Australia. [online] Available at: http://www.pria.com.au/industrynews/13-million-australians-spend-18-hours-a-day-online
Twenge, J. M 2013, “Does Online Social Media Lead to Social Connection or Social Disconnection?”, Journal of College & Character, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 11-20
Yu, S, Wu, A.M.S & Pesigan 2016, “Cognitive and Psychosocial Health Risk Factors of Social Networking Addiction”, International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 550-564
YouTube. (2016). Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRl8EIhrQjQ [Accessed 30 Aug. 2016].