Applied Psychology

Q. Why are the social medias so addictive ?

This is a very burning issue. People are getting addicted of social media day by day.An ASSOCHAM’s report says that around 76℅ and 73 ℅ minors use YouTube and Facebook in India.

What is the reason for this? Even psychologists are not sure what psychology exactly work behind this unprecedented behavioral problems.

Several other international research studies have given similar reports. People spent more time on such sites, feel bad and make self promise to be away from it but very soon they come back with overuse. If we compare these symptoms with that of the alcoholic,for example, it becomes clear that symptoms are like

  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Obsession and other handicapping emotion.

The analysis of the issue using the old theoretical framework of addiction of alcohol and drugs are not very helpful as the social media doesn’t cause any addictive biological changes. The researchers are now trying to unearth the psycho-social factors behind addiction.

  1. Fulfillment of instinctual needs : One remarkable note is that it fulfill some of the human psychological needs to relate and to express. Some individuals think this media gives  avenue to express our self  fully . This virtual world doesn’t have limitations of time and space. One can connect with anyone in the real time. IT and socialmedia have redefined the concept of time and space.
  2. Reinforcing experience: more likes encourage an individual to post more.

He or she feels liked. The principle of operant conditioning is at work.

  1. Social factors: Social media forms groups. And an individual, being a part of the group, get influenced by social processess. Impressions management, peer comparison for examples are at work when we see some good pictures of our friends. This motivates us to do better and we start posting our pictures, writing posts etc.. moreover, influence of peer of opposite sex is more pronounced. Research indicates that likes by individuals of opposite sex matter more.
  2. No repression…if we analyse the issue from the psychodynamic perspective, it seems that the social media provides avenue for the exhibition( not inhibition ) of our wild desire. Many people use disguised IDs for this things. They unload their wild desires here and feel relieved. Going by Freud’s and Jung’s conceptualizations of the dark sides of human nature( id and shadow archetype respectively), we can say that social media provides channels for primary processess fantasies.
  3. Humanistic drives . Analytically speaking, like wild fantasies, good social drives are also manifested through social media. We get interested in the matter of injustice, violence etc and we feel to add ourselves for the cause.

6 needs for community connectedness and communication are basic to human beings. In the urbanized, fast paced  life with time constraints  , social medias are instrumental in filling this needs. One may chat with a distant relative on the WhatsApp but can’t imagine of visiting  over there.

Work-life redefined through social media:Now Facebook, WhatsApp, like medias are heavily used for the business purposes also. This has also caused the over use of social media.

The addictive use of social media in the present time, is , apparently, due to a combination of factors.