Is Social Media Turning Us Into Psychopaths?
From gaming to shopping to building and managing websites, Americans are spending more time online with every passing year. While total time spent on the Internet via PC dropped 10% to 73% in 2012, more and more of us are making up the difference on our phones, tablets, and even our televisions. American adults spend an average of eight hours a day in front of a screen. Kids spend an average of seven the same way, although their average increases to eleven hours a day if activities like texting, IMs, and phone-based browsing are included.
The deluge of information, addictive games, and the tantalizing potential for instant fame make it difficult for many to “pull the plug.” The same social media landscape helping us stay in touch with old friends and make new ones all over the world is also causing us to neglect our real-world relationships and obligations—sometimes with tragic results.
The addition of “Internet Addiction Disorder” to an appendix in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-V) indicates just how serious the problem has become. The long-term impact of spending one’s life in the real world while constantly connected to the virtual one is not yet fully understood. While treatment for Internet addiction has been available since the mid-’90s, it’s worth noting that more people than ever before are exhibiting the ironically anti-social behaviors now associated with spending too much time online.
After millennia spent trying to master the world in which we actually live, humanity’s widespread adoption of Internet-based technology has fundamentally altered not only the ways in which we communicate with others, gather information, and entertain ourselves, but our perceptions and needs. Advances in hardware and networking have made staying in the know and on the go easier than ever. But too much time spent living in our virtual paradise just might be causing some of us to act like devils.
Is Social Media Making Us More Like Psychopaths?
The rise in social media is having a disturbing effect on our behaviours. Are we becoming more self-obsessed and displaying psychopathic tendencies? We’ve taken a look at four psychopathic traits of a social media user. You be the judge.
4 Psychopathic Traits of a Social Media User
Untruthfulness and Insincerity:
- A survey of 2,000 women found that nearly 30% had lied about doing something when home alone.
- 25% of Facebook users said they falsified some of their account information.
- 20% were not truthful about their holiday activities or their jobs.
Disconnection: Could We Be More Antisocial?
- 24% of people missed important moments in real life because they were too busy trying to share them on social channels.
- In a survey, 51% of respondents said they check social network sites at dinner.
- Almost two in five people spend more time socialising online than they do face-to-face.
Pathological Egocentricity: We’ve Become Self-Obsessed
- 46% of participants in a Trakur survey had Googled their own name within 24 hours of taking it. Only 6% never have.
- 37% of LinkedIn users change their profile picture regularly.
- Individuals usually spend 30 to 40% of their conversations “informing others of their own subjective experiences.” On social media, this is closer to 80%.
Poor Behaviour Controls: We’re Exhibiting Worrying Behavior
- Cyber bullying has spread widely with 42% of young people reporting they have been victims.
- A study found that 28% of children aged 11 to 16 have experienced bullying on the Internet or via a mobile phone.
- 25% of people admitted to difficulties in relationships because of “confrontational online behaviour.”
What’s Your Verdict?
51% of people say social media has not changed their life for the better. You decide.
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