Extensive Use of Facebook, Social Media Causes Drug Abuse, Says Study

by Vani Pradeep on Dec 16 2014 4:10 PM

Extensive Use of Facebook, Social Media Causes Drug Abuse, Says Study
Recent research says that extensive Facebook users have poor impulse control, which leads to substance abuse. The study was undertaken by psychologist Julia Hormes, University at Albany, New York and includes 292 undergraduate students in the age group of 18 years or more. The study assessed the addictive nature of social media, particularly Facebook.

Excerpts from the Study:

  • The study found that 90 percent of them had an active Facebook profile
  • One-third of their online browsing time was spent on social networking site
  • Nearly 10 percent of them experienced "disordered social networking use" - as termed by the researcher
  • About 67 percent received the Facebook push notifications to their smartphones
  • The group also revealed poor impulse control
  • Substance addiction like behavior
  • Strong desire or cravings to browse the site
  • Irritability while access was out of reach
  • Increase in use of the web over a period of time
  • Persons addicted to social media may report drinking problems
  • Facebook has numerous characteristics that causes an addiction-like syndrome

The Psychologist Says:

"New notifications or the latest content on your newsfeed acts as a reward. Not being able to predict when new content is posted encourages us to check back frequently," Hormes said. "Facebook is also making it easy for users to continuously be connected to its platform, for example by offering push notifications to mobile devices," she said. "Our findings suggest that disordered online social networking may arise as part of a cluster of risk factors that increase susceptibility to both substance and non-substance addictions," Hormes said.

Habitual Behaviours:

'Variable interval schedule of reinforcement' is a term, which explains the uncertainty of when a new reward is available. This is highly helpful in establishing habitual behaviours, which are opposed to extinction.