Stay Connected, Get Addicted?

Social networking is the second most popular thing that smartphone users spend their time doing, with 64.2 million people now social networking on their mobile. Although, it has been suggested that some are suffering from social media addictions. As smartphones are providing instant access to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, is there a real possibility that we have become addicts?

There was a recent study which, after monitoring people and their phone activity, suggested that social networking is more addictive than cigarettes or alcohol. This may not be that surprising, considering that sites such as Facebook are free to use and, with thanks to smartphones, are constantly available. The highly accessible nature of social networking site is causing consumers to be constantly glued to them, feeding this new concept of being addicted. This concept has even led to the introduction of the Bergen Facebook Addiction scale, which allows you to measure the extent of your Facebook 'addiction'.

But isn't this all a bit extreme? People are certainly partial to their social networking sites, but the term addiction should be used with caution. There is a key difference between over use and addiction, as addictions can have significant negative impacts on our lives. Despite being blamed as tempting many into the realms of procrastination, social media has also positively increased levels of communication, efficiency, as well as acting as a host to a whole variety of mediums.

As these platforms act as such a celebration of freedom of speech, sharing and connecting, we cannot be blamed for having such an obsessive relationship with social media. As our phones enable us to constantly be an active member of a large community, there is a sense of immense gratification which basic human nature craves. But the real question is whether or not it has gone too far. There used to be a time where it was considered rude to check your phone whilst at dinner or when your friends are trying to talk to you. Could these be the initial signs of a fully fledged addiction?

What do you think?