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Paloma Rangel
Professor Batty
English 114B
11 February 2014
The Effects of Social Media Addiction
Social media has become a big part of our lives because it not only provides a way to
communicate with loved ones or friends if they dont live close by. It also helps us stay up to
date with current events. Some of us dont know when it is time to get off a social network thus
making those who feel as though they cant get off the network addicted. Becoming addicted
isnt something that just happens there are reasons behind why someone has become or is
addicted. For example, it is a way for someone to change the way they look and their personality
in order to become accepted by society. It also has negative long term effects for example, it can
harm the way the brain is developing. Being attached to staying online can really affect
everything in someones life and the people around them.
One of the common reasons people like staying online is because they get to be whoever
they want to be. It is a way that makes them feel that they are going to be accepted by everyone.
Sherry Turkle who gave a speech called, Connected, but alone? said, We get to edit, and that
means they get to delete, and that means that we get to retouch, the face, the voice, the flesh, the
body...not too little, not too much, just right (Turkle 2). We edit ourselves with what we dont
like and what we dont want others to see to try and create this perfect person who doesnt
exist. Eventually, this person we create whom we think will be accepted by society portrays
everything we in fact arent. After putting so much effort into making someone their not they
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sometimes start to lose sight of who they really are. They get caught up with wanting to be this
picture perfect person but it isnt possible because no one is.
Another common reason people are becoming addicted is because they feel as though no
one cares enough to listen to what they have to say and it makes them think that only being
online is the way they will get people to listen to them. Turkle states, And that feeling that no
one is listening to me make us want to spend time with machines that seem to care about us
(Turkle 2). It does seem as though being online would be the choice to pick if people want others
to listen but it doesnt mean that its the right one. There are people out there that will listen but
that number is slowly going down because they are starting to think that by being on a social
network they will be heard more than if they went to people that are actually there in person. It
causes a chain reaction where a person will want to talk to someone but that person is too busy
online to listen so the end result for the person wanting to talk is to go online to be heard. It
keeps going on and on but what they might not know is that there are consequences to being
addicted.
Just as there are reasons for it becoming an addiction there are negative effects that come
with it. There are several effects one of them being for those who are still in school taking too
much time on social networks is starting to show in their performance at school. In the article,
Are our teens hooked? Social Media Addiction by Sharon Blumberg who said, Social media
usage can be one of the major distractions from homework.the more time spent on media, the
lower a childs academic performance (Blumberg 3). Its becoming a problem for children and
teens because it is taking too much time away from school work. Which is leading them to not
get the best grades they could be getting and its making them lose focus in school. It also takes
time away from being with loved ones and friends. It can also take so much time that it might
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cost someone their job. Blumberg states, Also, the less time that is spent with human
interaction, the more likely an addiction problem could prevail (Blumberg 3). Not interacting
enough can lead to being socially awkward depending on how long it has been since they
actually had a face to face conversation. Usually its hard to talk to others face to faace than it is
online which doesnt help those who are trying to get off social networks.
A serious effect that can happen is that parts of the brain can weaken because of being
online for a large amount of time. Also not making any human contact at all can really take a
toll. In the article, Researchers: Being Too Wired Can Fry Your Brain by Andy Butcher says,
Our brains are sensitive...if you spend a lot of time with a particular mental experience, the
neural circuits that control that mental experience will strengthen...if we neglect certain
experiences, the circuits that control those will weaken. If we're not having conversations or
looking people in the eye-human contact skills - they will weaken (Butcher 2). If those that are
addicted stop making human contact it can result in weakening a part of the brain.
The same amount of people that are becoming addicted to social media are starting to
disconnect from the real world, meaning that they arent having face to face conversations. If
they are young it will become harder for them to make conversations with other people and
maybe they will grow up not knowing how to converse with others. Turkle states, An 18-year-
old boy says to me wistfully, Someday, someday, but certainly not now, Id like to learn how
to have a conversation. (Turkle 2). It is hard to think that there are people who are becoming
adults that might not know how to talk to people face to face because they havent been
interacting. It might be difficult to start or have a conversation but most of the people who are
addicted might say that they are having conversations through the social network.
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The conversations that they are having through social media are in fact not real
conversations at all. Turkle states, Dont all those little tweets, dont all those little sips of
online communication, add up to one big gulp of real conversation? My answer was no, they
dont add up. Connecting in sips may work for gathering discrete bits of informationbut they
dont really work for learning about each other for really coming to know and understand each
other (Turkle 2). Actually talking face to face is how getting to know someone works and it
doesnt really work with online relationships because it cant be the same. When face to face
there are facial reactions and no time to think of a response just what comes out at the moment.
With online conversations there isnt any facial reaction and there is plenty of time to come up
with the perfect answer.
There are more effects than just harming a part of the brain as Butcher states, some
people's overuse of technology has led to symptoms of issues like narcissistic personality
disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction and depression (Butcher). It goes beyond not
having human interaction it can lead to serious disorders that can affect their everyday lives. It is
not very common yet to get the disorders with being addicted to the social media but the
numbers of those who have might start to increase. In the future it might become something
thats not unusual because of the amount of people who feel as though the network is a way to
escape. It gives them a chance to say whatever they want and know that there are people out
there that are listening and it makes them feel good to have someone there even if they dont
know them.
Being addicted to social media can really affect different areas in not just their lives but
everyone around them. They could take time from being on a social network to spend it with
their family or friends. They could keep track of the amount of time they are allowed to be online
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and make sure someone they trust knows. That way they have a help system and know that they
will have someone there to keep them on check. That way the addiction is preventable or it
slowly takes away the temptation of going back online.




















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Works Cited
Blumberg, Sharon. Are our teens hooked? Social media addiction. Voice of Youth Advocates
Feb.
2013: 528+. Gale Powersearch. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
Butcher, Andy. Researchers: Being Too Wired Can Fry Your Brain. Newsmax 27 Mar. 2012.
Gale
Powersearch. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
Is internet making you anxious? Times of India 30 Jan. 2013. Gale Powersearch. Web. 4 Feb.
2014.
Connected but Alone? By Sherry Turkle. 4 Feb. 2014. Performance.