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IS IT PROBLEMATIC INTERNET OR SOCIAL MEDIA USE?


Each day, many of us spend countless hours and devote a great deal of mental attention to what we see online. While much of this time may be useful, functional, practical, and enjoyable (You're reading this online right?), many aspects of this online trend are not useful to us or actually bad for us.

More and more frequently phone use negatively impacts emotional intimacy with people in our own lives. Checking up on others posts on social media can have negative consequences on people's self-esteem. Some people report difficulty focusing or meeting deadlines because of time wasted online.

Problematic internet and social media use is becoming increasingly recognized as a mental health concern. It is characterized by a level of use that impairs relationships; brings about family, work, or interpersonal difficulties; and impacts daily function in a negative way.

One in eight Americans are believed to experience internet addiction. Approximately 70% of those addicted to the internet are reported to also experience some other form of addiction.

Those who experience internet addiction may experience a "high" when using their computers or phones that is similar to the high those who shop compulsively experience when making a purchase. A genetic component may also make it more likely that some who use the internet in a problematic way will become addicted to it. Familial and social factors may also play a role, as a person might turn to virtual reality more and more to escape negative situations in everyday life. As one uses the internet more frequently and experiences positive feelings and sensations as a result of internet usage, one may come to depend on the internet in order to feel good or even normal.

In some cases, gender may play a role in the type of addiction one experiences. Research has shown that men are more likely to become addicted to online games, cybersex or porn, and gambling online, while woman may be more likely to use social media, test or quiz websites, and online stores in a problematic manner.