Social Networking Addiction – Is Excessive Use of the Internet and Social Media a Behavioural Addiction?

Posted on:October 22, 2021
Last Updated: November 25, 2023
Time to read: 7 minutes

Accessing the internet in locations other than at home or work has increased society’s connectivity. For many, the benefits outweigh the risks; however, as many as one-third of online users would like to reduce their time online or feel the need to go on a so-called ‘digital sabbatical’. [Ofcom, 2018]

  • In Western countries, 98% of 16 to 24-year olds are online, and adult internet users spend 1 day per week online. [Ofcom, 2018]
  • Of this time spent online, Facebook (the most popular social networking site [SNS]) commands approximately 20 minutes of every day, with up to 20% of adolescents using social media as a whole for at least 5 hours per day. [Scott et al., 2019]

So, is excessive use of the internet and social media a behavioural addiction? Symptoms of social media addiction have been reported to be similar to substance abuse disorders, i.e. social anxiety, depression and the exhibition of withdrawal symptoms. [Banyai et al., 2017]

Problematic social media use can have adverse outcomes on academic and work performance as well as interpersonal relationships.

We previously covered the similarity between substance addiction and internet addiction. 

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