Social Networking Addiction

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The last decade witnessed an explosion of social networks such as Myspace and Facebook, which added a new social dimension to the web. While such networks have made people, communities and groups with shared interests stay more “connected,” Internet addiction and social network addiction in particular also started being recognized as psychological disorders all over the world. While several 90′s studies focused on Internet addiction, the next decade saw the growth of a new addiction related to all manner of social networking sites, especially the current king of the jungle: Facebook. In a recent study from the University of Athens, Greek psychiatrists argued that a woman who had gone as far as losing her job on account of her compulsion to check and update her Facebook, could be identified as a “social network addict.” Of course, there are different levels of social network addiction. Another recent study carried out at a Czech University analyzed Facebook-related academic procrastination. Though based on a sample too small to draw any general conclusions, one interesting finding of the research was that people tended to be unaware of just how much time they really spent on Facebook, and the effect this might have on their academic performance. On the other hand, it has been noted that there may be a correlation between low self-esteem and a sense of social inadequacy and social network addiction. It seems that many types of social interaction which would present great challenges in the real world for certain types of individuals have been rendered much easier for them in the virtual world, thus putting them at a higher risk of becoming addicted to Facebook and the like. A Mexican study found that Facebook addicts (a category defined by reportedly spending over four hours everyday on Facebook) had a higher incidence of depression and lower physical and general self-esteem levels than less frequent Facebook users. There are many factors that determine the...
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