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Is Social Media Bad for Your Health?

72% of online adults use social networking sites as of May 2013. The average user spends 23 hours a week emailing, texting and using social media and another forms of online communication. That is nearly 14% of total time in a week.

  • 67% are afraid they will “miss something” if they don’t stay glued to their social networks.
  • 38% of users aged 18-34 check their social networks when they wake up before they check their emails.

Does social media affect your mental health?
The University of Salford conducted a study among 298 participants. 50% said using social networks like Facebook and Twitter makes their lives worse. Their self-esteem suffers when they compare their own accomplishments to those of their online friends.

  • 66% claims it’s difficult to relax or sleep after spending time on social networks.
  • 25% cited work or relationship difficulties due to online confrontations.
  • 50%+ say they feel “worried or uncomfortable” when they can’t access Facebook or email.

Why is social media so highly addictive?
A study from Harvard University reveals that during self-disclosure on social media, participants activated the Nucleus Accumbens. This region of the important in the development of addictions – it lights up when someone takes cocaine or other drugs. Self-disclosure activates the part of the brain associated with the sensation of pleasure – the same pleasure we get from:

  • Eating food
  • Receive money
  • Having sex

30%-40% of daily conversations share information about our own experiences.
80% of what we post on social media is about ourselves.

Brain regions associated with reward are strongly engaged when people talk about themselves, and less engaged when talking about someone else. The activation of pleasure centers is even greater when people are told they have an audience.

How does social media consume your life?
Boost mobile conducted a survey of 500 males and females between the ages of 16-25:

  • 50% admitted to being addicted to social media, 60% of which were female.
  • 68% confessed to checking their social media feeds up to a staggering 10 times a day.
  • 31% admitted to reading, writing, and feeding their social media addiction while on the toilet.
  • 45% said eating was the most popular time to look at their timelines.
  • 37% admitted to finding social media updates more important than listening in the classroom.

15-19 year olds spend 3 hours a day on social media.
20-29 year olds spend 2 full hours interacting socially.

Balancing social media and a healthy lifestyle
30% less time spent on social media per week gives you 7 hours that can be spent on exercise.

How many McDonlad’s cheeseburgers could you burn if you used those 7 hours for exercise in 1 week?

  • Men running: 15.25 cheeseburgers
  • Men walking: 3.78 cheeseburgers
  • Women walking: 3.12 cheeseburgers
  • Women running: 13.22 cheeseburgers

Sign off of social media, and sign on to a healthier you.

Alex Lim is a certified IT Technical Support Architect with over 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, and troubleshooting complex IT systems and networks. He has worked for leading IT companies, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, providing technical support and solutions to clients across various industries and sectors. Alex has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore and a master’s degree in information security from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of several best-selling books on IT technical support, such as The IT Technical Support Handbook and Troubleshooting IT Systems and Networks. Alex lives in Bandar, Johore, Malaysia with his wife and two chilrdren. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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