Description of the Problem
Kuss & Griffiths (2011) defined social networking sites as a virtual community in which people create individual public profiles, interact with friends and meet with other people depending on the interest they share. The social networking sites include Facebook, Twitter, Eskimi, LinkedIn, Myspace, Netlog, google+, Badoo, 2go, and Pinterest. The social networking sites have various uses including; first, they allow people to articulate information with other people whom they connection with, second, they allow people to view and share a list of connections with users and other people within their networking system and thirdly, they allow people to construct a public or semipublic profile depending on the interest they share (Ajewole & Fasola, 2012).
Their usage pattern, however, indicates that their usage patterns have increased exponentially over the past five years (Kuss & Griffiths, 2011) to a point that there are fears that some are already addicted to the social media. In fact, the situation has become so bad that according to a study by Cohen (2009) he indicated that she asked a woman whether she was an addict of Facebook. In her response, the woman said that she is so addicted to Facebook to a point that she cann...
ot even help her daughter with her homework. Instead of helping her daughter with homework; she is spending time in the social networking sites chatting and meeting people with whom she shares interest in within the social networking sites.
Reports from newspaper and media coverage have also reported rising incidences of social media addiction and even alleged that women are at a higher risk of developing social media addiction than men (Revoir, 2008). Studies also suggest that the problem of addiction is more prevalent to the young people than to the elderly people.
Griffiths (2005) also describes behavior addiction as any behavior whose features is distinguished by six main components of addiction which include; mood modification, tolerance, salience, conflict, relapse and withdrawal symptoms. Hence, any behavior that is characterized by any of the above is described as addiction. Similarly, there have been various forms of behavior witnessed among the youth, and there has been debate as to whether they can be described as an excessive form of behavior and ultimately consider them as addiction. These include; internet use, exercise, sex, playing video games among others which will be discussed in the subsequent section of this essay.
Researchers have been carrying out studies on different forms of behavioral addiction and based on this, Turel & Serenko (2012) came up with three models of behavioral addictions.
In the first model referred to as cognitive-behavioral model, is a situation where abnormal social networking results from maladaptive cognitions and usually magnified by various environmental factors hence leading to compulsive or addictive social networking.
In the second model referred to as social skill model, is a situation where abnormal social networking results because people lack self-interpersonal skills and prefer virtual communication to face-to-face interaction and
as a result, this leads to compulsive or addictive social networking. In the following section, I will be discussing how internet social media addiction constitutes a social problem for society.
How Internet and Social Media Addiction Constitute a Social Problem for Society
Like mentioned earlier, behavior among youths such as internet use, exercise, sex, playing video games among others may constitutes addiction behavior if it is distinguished by six main components of addiction such as mood modification, tolerance, salience, conflict, relapse and withdrawal symptoms. If the above described behavioral action can cause one to neglect his or her duties then it constitute a social problem. This is illustrated in a study done by a study done by Cohen (2009) where he indicated that she asked a woman whether she was an addict of Facebook. In her response, the woman said that she is so addicted to Facebook to a point that she cannot even help her daughter with her homework. Instead of helping her daughter with homework; she is spending time in the social networking sites chatting and meeting people with whom she shares interest in within the social networking sites. This can results into negligence of our social responsibility in the family and can results into misunderstanding and even break ups or divorces in families.
Similarly, in a an article published by Daily Trust newspaper by Itodo (2011), he indicated that social media networking use is increasing at an alarming rate among the youth and school going students which could results in social media addiction. Consequently, if the trend continues, such behavior could results in poor academic performance among students, their spiritual life and even their social life if not properly controlled and hence this constitute a social problem for society.
Addictions such as online gambling can results to lose of finances and even cause one to neglect his duties and responsibilities in the family. This could also results in conflicts within families. Similarly, online pornography or online sex addiction can alter one’s behavior and have a negative impact in marriages or a situation where partners cannot satisfy each other as a result of addiction from pornography or online sex addiction. Besides this, there has been an addiction that has been gaining popularity and commonly referred to as cyber-relationship or an addiction to online relationship. This is where people look for sexual partners online. Such kinds of behavior if not regulated could distort courtship and affect how people relates in the family.
Clinical psychologists are of the view that if the above behavior is not regulated then we would be witnessing “Facebook addiction disorder”. The Facebook addiction disorder could then result in mental preoccupation; neglect to personal life, tolerance, escapism and mood modification experience attributes which might occur in people who use social media and other social network excessively (Young, 2009).
Widespread of Internet and Social Media Addiction
A study was carried out by International Center for Media and Public Agenda at the University of Maryland to determine the use and dependence on social media. In their study, they observed that the use and dependency on social media is mainly common among Generation Ys.