Social Media Addiction

“It is okay to own a technology, what is not okay is to be owned by technology.”― Abhijit Naskar
“The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.” ― JR
What is it? The Addiction Centre states, “Social media addiction is a behavioral addiction that is defined by being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on to or use social media, and devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other important life areas.”
Why should us Elders be concerned about social media addiction? After all, we’ve been around too long to get sucked into another, or even our first, addiction! Or have we?
Here are some key, but disturbing, points about this addiction outlined in an article by The Addiction Centre:
It states, “psychologists estimate that as many as 5 to 10% of Americans meet the criteria for social media addiction today.”
“Addictive social media use will look much like any other substance use disorder … “
“Social media platforms such as … (We all know the culprits!) produce the same neural circuitry that is caused by gambling and recreational drugs to keep consumers using their products as much as possible.”
“Studies have shown that the constant stream of retweets, likes, and shares from these sites cause the brain’s reward area to trigger the same kind of chemical reaction seen with drugs like Cocaine.”
“Due to the effect that it has on the brain, social media is addictive both physically and psychologically.”
“Social media use becomes problematic when someone views social networking sites as an important coping mechanism to relieve stress, loneliness, or depression.”
Are elders at risk of social media addiction?
Stress? Loneliness? Depression? Do these ring a bell? They are big challenges for us approaching or in our not-always-golden years! Its highly likely that we, as an age group, are at greater risk to social media addiction than the teenagers I use to think only had this problem!
What about you? How much time do spend on social media? No guilt or fear intended, raising awareness is our only motive here. We are moving Dale’s blog posts of off his social media accounts onto this private website, out of the reach and manipulation of the social media algorithms designed to addict. We want to be part of the solution, not the problem.
What’s different about EldersThrive?
We do not have like buttons, or allow retweets or shares here.
We also encourage Members to avoid superficial posts with only icons or symbols but instead encourage sincere, thoughtful communication.
There are also no algorithms or computer programs behind the scenes generating addictive responses and content or controlling what our EldersThrive team and members communicate or who sees it.
Furthermore, we will not plaster our pages with ads, pop-ups or other intrusive content. If we ever allow any ads, they will be limited, well researched and selected only if they offer beneficial products or services to our Members.
We monitor questions and requests from you, our Members, and do in depth research on topics of the most interest to you. Based on EldersThrive team’s research will be provide more in-depth information, articles, potential solutions and additional reference sources to our Members.
However, we will not leave social media entirely, as it does serve a valuable service for outreach and promotion, through paid ads and selective posts. It’s important to let potential members know about EldersThrive and the vibrant, independent community we are creating. Social media is an important channel with which to reach potential members.
How to escape social media addiction
Our first priority is to help our Members in whatever way we can. In keeping with this Mission, below are some pointers on how to escape social media addiction, should you or your family or friends be caught in its subtle, but powerful web.
First, monitor how many minutes and how frequently you find yourself on any social media sites like FB, T, I, etc. My latest personal guideline is not to go on more than once, only once, per day unless I’m doing legitimate research reading in-depth articles or watching training videos! If I’m on more than 15 minutes, excluding research or training, I’m on too long? What are your limits? Once my wife Linda sees this, I better stick to my guidelines or I will hear about it!!!!
By the way, having a buddy system is a great way to modify any harmful habit or addiction. We will discuss other habit and addition modification strategies if future articles, so keep in touch.
Here are a few tips for quitting social media addictive behavior.

  • As suggested above monitor and write down the times, minutes and activity you are on social media every day. Be honest, and be sure you record every incident.
  • Find a mentor, who you trust, respect and will not lie to, and have him or her review your notes each week and help keep you on track, or on the wagon, as AAs would say.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Keep your smart phone out of reach, in a drawer, cupboard, etc. where you can’t see it or reach it easily. If this fails, lock it up and give your mentor the key. We’re not joking …
  • Never use your smartphone when eating, watching TV, in the bathroom, or any other place where you are receiving any type of reward or positive stimulation. This is called habit or reward stacking, and it only deepens your addiction.
  • Don’t underestimate how difficult it is to quit. Just like alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, weed or any other addiction, it manipulates your judgement and emotions, and never completely goes away. Sorry! But that’s the hard, cold truth.
    On the bright side. Besides the strategies outlined above and to be discussed in future articles here, you are now part of a community developed to support each other.
    Do you know any one addicted to or appears addicted to social media? Don’t post specific names or personal details, please! But do post your observations, questions, suggestions and other comments, in our Caring Connections forum under the Mind category, about your own experiences with social addiction. By so doing, you can help other Thrivers become more aware of social media addiction, it’s consequences and solutions.
    You can also tag your comments ‘social media’ and/or ‘addiction’
    To go to Caring Connections, click on the button below:
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