With the rise of social media has come the rise of social media addiction.
It’s easy to overlook social media and internet addiction. In comparison to opioid addictions, it seems harmless. However, when social media becomes the obsessive focal point of someone’s life, then it certainly is a problem. Studies have shown that it can have a negative impact on our mental health.
Addiction is still somewhat taboo in many places – especially in business. But unfortunately, social media addiction means that people are spending large amounts of their working time on social media. This impacts the productivity and well-being of employees, and ultimately, the business. This is largely due to the individual’s inability to stop using it, and due to the detrimental effect it can have on their self-image.
So how can you identify and help manage social media addictions? We’ve offered a few key points to help you understand.
1. Addiction can come in many forms
The ‘traditional’ addict is a substance-abuser, ranging from alcohol to cocaine or heroin. However, it is indeed possible to become addicted to things that you might not expect.
Generally, an addiction is considered to become a problem when it negatively impacts the person’s life, job, or relationships. Many things we come into contact with every day, such as video games, food, or social media, can lead to additions.
Research has found that using social media can lead to the release of pleasure chemicals, such as dopamine and oxytocin. Many drug addictions which need proper care, such as Ibogaine treatment for opioid addictions, are formed due to an addition to these chemicals.
In fact, social media addiction can be stronger than an addiction to cigarettes or alcohol.
2. Addiction can be difficult to spot
Addictions are often formed due to habits. Because social media is used so frequently, it’s easy for people to form addictions. Peer pressure can also have a big influence, and social media certainly encourages this.
Because social media is so normalized, it’s difficult to identify when it becomes a problem. Many don’t want to stop using it due to social pressures, or because they don’t see any harm in continuing.
This can make it difficult to recognize in the workplace, and to deal with if it becomes an issue. How can you talk to someone about their social media addiction when the majority use social media frequently?
3. Offer support and encouragement
Rather than responding with anger or discipline, offer help to your employees to ensure they feel supported. It can be useful to set up some control or restrictions over using social media at work. This will help reduce employees time on social media without strictly singling anyone out.
You can also run an Employee Assistance Program to offer confidential guidance and counselling. This will encourage anyone who has problems to talk about the issue rather than letting it get worse.
Social media addiction might not initially seem like a genuine problem, but research implies otherwise. With the digital world and social media continuing to grow, especially within business, it’s an issue that’s worth keeping an eye on.