A new study from the Journal of Behavioral Addictions found that those who spend excessive time on social media fare just as poorly on psychological tests than those dependent on drugs or alcohol.
The study, conducted by researches at Michigan State University and Monash University in Australia, administered the "Iowa Gambling Task" to 71 people. This test has historically helped psychologists identify differences in decision making between those with a substance abuse disorder and those without.
The Iowa Gambling Task is a card game which attaches risk, reward, and punishment to various cards in a deck. The study found that those who are attached to their smart phones performed in the way that people with drug addictions often do, taking larger risks despite ever growing punishment. Those who spent less time on social media made better decisions.
In addition, they found that those who spent a large amount of time on social media exhibited many of the same emotional symptoms that people with substance abuse disorders do; irritability, mental obsession, lack of sleep, and disruption of daily tasks. This comes on the heels of bombshell reporting from summer of 2019 which revealed that social media companies have deliberately built their platforms to be addictive.
The studies lead author, Dar Meshi, stated...
"I believe that social media has tremendous benefits for individuals, but there's also a dark side when people can't pull themselves away. We need to better understand this drive so we can determine if excessive social-media use should be considered an addiction."
Some people felt personally attacked.
Honestly, so do we.
Maybe it's time we put down the phones.