Facebook More Addictive Than Tobacco
It has long been known that certain substances are addictive to us. Things like tobacco, drugs and alcohol are frequent offenders. New research suggests that social media might beat them all.
The research, conducted by the University of Chicago's Booth School of Management, found that people are more addicted to social media and email than they are to traditional vices such as smoking and drinking.
The researchers enrolled over 200 Germans from the city of Wurtzburg to test what kind of things they could not live without each day. Each participant was equipped with a BlackBerry and asked several times throughout the day to identify desires they were having, and the strength of those desires.
The results were quite startling. Whilst it is perhaps understandable, not to mention healthy, that sleep and leisure time topped the list, what is more surprising is that the next most addictive activity was social media usage. This was followed by checking our emails.
"Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not 'cost much' to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist," said lead researcher Wilhelm Hofmann at Chicago University's Booth Business School.
"With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs — long-term as well as monetary — and the opportunity may not always be the right one. So, even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may still 'steal' a lot of people's time," Hofmann added.
The research comes after Cisco released findings last year revealing that for the younger generation, Internet access is as important as food and water. One of every three college students and employees surveyed globally (33%) believes the Internet is a fundamental resource for the human race – as important as air, water, food and shelter.
How addicted are you to social media? Can you go a day without checking your Facebook?