Social Media, Technology as Addictive as Drugs

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SOCIAL SEDUCTION: People of every age use social media apps. These apps are a great tool, but how much is too much time on these apps?

Mia Hutchinson, staff writer

Social media has had an indelible impact on our generation. According to the Mayo Clinic, “A 2018 Pew Research Center survey of nearly 750 13- to 17-year-olds found that 45% are online almost constantly and 97% use a social media platform.”  The main social media platforms used today include Instagram, Snapchat, VSCO, Facebook, Twitter, and especially TikTok. Little do we know, these companies are programming their apps very strategically to get everyone hooked.

In this generation it is not a surprise that everyone is addicted to their phone, especially knowing that technology is made for that purpose. In the documentary The Social Dilemma, Yale professor Edward Tufte states “There are only two industries that call their customers “users”: illegal drugs and software.”  This statement is very scary because it shows just how similar the two things are. Social media is just as addictive as drugs.

Every time you walk down a hallway you will always see at least one person on their phone. Many students spend a significant amount of time each day on the social media platform of their choice and have a hard time imagining life without their phone.

Josie Linford: “My daily screen time is around 4 hours. I use Snapchat the most since it is how I talk to my friends. I think I could go a day without my phone, but not much more than that.”

Sheridan Coles: “I average 7 hours a day. The apps I like to use the most would be Snapchat because that is just how I communicate with people. I could probably go a few days without my phone, honestly, but not a week.”

SNAPCHAT: Teenagers use this app to interact with their friends and family in a fun way by sending videos and pictures back and forth to each other. “All my friends use it, so it is the easiest way to get a hold of all of them,” said Josie Linford.

Kaleb Fila: “My screen time is like four hours a day, and my most used app is TikTok. I usually am on my phone most at night time because I am so busy during the day. It would probably be better for me if I didn’t have my phone because I could get more stuff done, so yes, I think I could go without it for a while.”

Preston Buehler: “Well, I average a little over 6 hours a day, but Sunday is like 11 so that drags the average up a lot. I just use Instagram and TikTok the most just because me and my friends just send all kinds of funny videos to each other. I think I could go without my for phone for as long as I’m at school with friends or in my car to go home.”

TIKTOK: TikTok, over the past year or so has gotten very popular. It is very easy to lose track of time scrolling and watching videos. Like Preston Buehler said, “Me and my friends just send all kinds of funny videos to each other.”

Gabe Clinger: “3 hours and 3o minutes is my average. I use Spotify the most but Youtube and Snapchat are close seconds. I could go a month without my phone if I needed, but it would be really annoying.”

SPOTIFY: There are many people that listen to music. Teenagers  will listen to it no matter what they are doing. “I usually use Spotify the most,” said Gabe Clinger.

Different social media apps are programmed to hook us and keep us using and looking for a longer amounts of time. Apps like Instagram and TikTok use algorithms to keep us looking at the app. They keep track of all the things we like to look at and send more of it which keeps us scrolling, thinking, “Only one more video” or even “just a few more minutes.” Then we find ourselves scrolling for another thirty minutes or even an hour. That is called addiction, and that is these companies’ goal.

In this generation, social media and technology ruin many things: relationships, motivation, and mental health. It’s crazy to think how much we use technology in our lives. Yes, social media and technology can be a good thing, but it is when we over-use it that it starts to turn bad. You don’t really know how hard it is to go without your phone for a day until you try it. So, I challenge you to try. Try and break that addiction.