When Jojo, our part-time Author wrote the article “Embedded Games like ‘Café World’ in Social Networking sites! Good or Evil?” it caused a stir among our readers who were divided in their opinion as to whether use of “Social Networking” is an addiction or it is okay to use them once in a while (including playing the embedded games that often come with them). This gave rise to the idea to write this article. Lets begin with some facts:
Dangers of Social Networking Addiction:
- SOCIAL networking has joined s’E'x, dru’G's and alc0h0l as the latest addiction plaguing celebrities. With Australians spending a third of their time online perusing Facebook, however, it seems the everyday Aussie is not far behind in mirroring the trend.
- British pop singer Lily Allen has become the latest celebrity casualty of the affliction, announcing she is quitting social networking sites and declaring she will be a “neo-Luddite”. Allen joins US pop sensation Miley Cyrus and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who deleted their Twitter accounts, claiming the site had caused too much disruption to their lives. “It’s not about being famous; it’s not about all the parties; it’s not about wanting to be the biggest pop star on the planet. It’s about being happy,” Allen said of her decision. Despite her music gaining exposure via social networking site MySpace, Allen said she recognised she had a problem. “I just had this revelation that Facebook, blogging, all those things were becoming a total addiction,” she said. “I’d be with my boyfriend or my mum and they’d have got just half of me. So I put my Blackberry, my laptop, my iPod in a box and that’s the end.” “We’ve ended up in this world of unreal communication and I don’t want that. I want real life back.“
- It was revealed last month Australia lead the world for the time spent on social media sites each month, with an average of 7.12 hours exceeding the national averages of Britain, Italy, North America and Japan, countries which comes next.
- Figures collated for October show Australians spent an average of 27.2 hours browsing online, 7.55 hours of which was taken up by Facebook, while MySpace and Twitter accounted for 39 and 17 minutes respectively.
- A Nielsen audit of Americans’ use of online time revealed that in 12 months, Facebook use had grown by 700 per cent and Twitter’s numbers had grown exponentially.
- According to neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield, repeated exposure to sites such as Facebook, Bebo and Twitter, with computer games and fast-paced TV shows, could effectively “rewire” the brain. “Attention spans are shorter, personal communication skills are reduced and there’s a marked reduction in the ability to think abstractly,” Lady Greenfield said.
However, Social networking also can serve a valuable purpose. This year has seen fans and celebrities embrace the power of sites, such as Facebook, to effect social change.
Positives of Social Networking:
- Fans of band Rage Against the Machine launched a Facebook campaign to snare top spot in British charts and deny X-Factor winner the honour, customary each Christmas.
- Closer to home, passionate Adelaideans launched Facebook groups to resurrect Hey Hey It’s Saturday and the Adelaide Skyshow, generating a groundswell of support.
Clearly, it is just a matter of adopting the everything-in-moderation adage. Social networking addicts can limit time spent and frequency of visits rather than trying to go cold turkey. As the old saying goes — “All things in perspective, all things in balance.” However, here are few tips for such addicts who want to balance their life out of their addiction to Social networking sites.
Top 10 Tips for Social Network Addicts:
- Limit logging on to only once a day.
- When logged in, limit the time spent to 15 minutes or less.
- Set a timer to monitor time spent on sites.
- Reward yourself (for example, with a coffee) when you stick to the allocated time limit.
- Punish yourself if you stray outside the limits – perhaps donate to a charity you wouldn’t normally assist or forgo your morning coffee.
- Make time to schedule face-to-face contact with friends.
- Don’t update every minute of your life – think about whose life would be enriched by knowing your every move.
- When your work involves social media utilization, try, whenever possible, to stay away from social media after your working hours are over! You can be watching a movie and yes, it will be more rewarding than you might think!
- If you find yourself spending too much time using social media channels, think about picking up and adopting a new hobby, preferably one which you can practice outdoors and away from your computer.
- Whether you are trying to get over a bad break up, avoiding something or running away from a family situation, do not compensate by using social media.
What is your method to control Social Network Addiction? Share your ideas with us.