Is social media really that bad? Can too much of it make you a social media addict? While the social media advent has delivered numerous benefits such as unprecedented availability of information and overall connectivity, the data that 1 in 3 divorces in the US happen because of social media disagreements is scary. This brings the question: how much is too much? Our list of jaw-dropping social media addiction statistics provides some cold, hard facts about this phenomenon. So, read on to get a clearer grasp of the problem and how it impacts our lives.
One of the more shocking social media facts and stats is that by 2021, the monthly number of active social media users is expected to reach 3.02 billion globally, according to Statista. To put that into perspective, that is about one-third of the world’s entire population. Further estimates suggest that by 2023, 450 million of these users are likely to be from India, while 800 million will hail from China.
A Smart Insights study recently revealed that nearly half of the global population were active on social media in some form or another in January 2019. This equals roughly 3.5 billion people. The study further suggests that this number has been growing since 2018 by an average of 9% annually or by an astonishing 288 million. Facts about social media addiction establish that the growing adoption of these platforms causes dramatic spikes in usage by certain age groups which often leads to uncontrollable or excessive use of social media.
(Smart Insights, FameMass)
Human dependence on technology grows by the day and is reflected in the growing number of solutions designed to make life simpler and hassle-free. But is technological advancement risk-free? Social media addiction research reveals that some 210 million people worldwide suffer from some form of internet and social media addiction. Studies further suggest that the situation will only get worse.
While teenagers all over the world have a tendency to use digital technologies excessively, social media addiction facts also reveal that American teens hold the record with 9 hours on average per day spent browsing through various social media. One reason for this is that being in one’s teens usually means having plenty of free time.
Internet and social media addiction facts show that teenagers who spend 5 hours or more each day are twice as likely to suffer from symptoms of depression compared to their counterparts that only use their smartphones for one hour per day. This goes to show that the consequences of accessibility to social media and technology may be more serious than expected. Depression, which is the first of the many social media addiction symptoms, appears to primarily affect females (58%), suggesting that both depression and the excessive use of social media are partly gender-related.
A Pew Research Center report suggests that social media consumption is most frequent among the youngest adults. A staggering 88% of people aged 18-29 state that they use social media in any form available, meaning they are at the highest risk of becoming social media addicts. Those aged 30-49 have a smaller share of 79%. The stats keep lowering as the age of participants goes up, with those aged 50-64 reporting 64% consumption and the 65+ age group going as low as 37%.
(Pew Research Center)
And if you think 15% is low, let’s look at the other data in Statista’s social media addiction research. When asked whether the statement “I am addicted to social media” somewhat or completely describes them, 30% of all surveyed said ‘somewhat’ while 9% said they feel they are social media addicts. The percentage of people feeling ‘somewhat’ addicted to social media is highest at 40% among those aged 18-22 and 37% among people between 23 and 38. Then, 9% of people between the age of 39 and 54 feel they are addicted.
When discussing social media addiction statistics and trends, addictive social media behavior is most strongly associated with being a young, single female. According to a social media addiction study involving more than 23,500 participants with ages ranging from 16 to 88, this is the age group that is most likely to display addiction symptoms. Overall low self-esteem and a narcissistic personality were also very strongly associated with addictive social media behavior.
Many relationships suffer because of excessive use of social media. Failed marriages and ruined relationships are often listed as the most devastating social media addiction effects. This happens because some people believe monitoring one’s romantic partner on social media is harmless when instead it often leads to jealousy and quarrels. Facebook addiction statistics reveal this platform is involved in the vast majority of such marital disputes, 1 in 3 of which end in divorce. In fact, divorce attorneys no longer shy away from using networking sites to derive data which is then used as evidence.
Yet another finding related to the negative effects these platforms have (on young people, in particular) has been provided by social media addiction stats. The FOMO (fear of missing out) phenomenon manifests in 37% of young adults who feel uneasy when they are not online and another 22% who get restless when logged out because they cannot check incoming messages. Recent research indicates that anxiety kicks in in a surprisingly high number of people once they log out of social media though this symptom rarely appears in older social media users.
When it comes to how social media addiction affects your life, younger and less experienced drivers have a nasty habit of checking social media while behind the wheel. Studies performed around the world have concluded that using your smartphone in any capacity while driving is both dangerous and widespread. US studies meanwhile indicate that drivers don’t just use their phones to take and make calls; over 50% live-stream, update social media posts, or pose for selfies.
Statistics on social media addiction disclose the number of young adults experiencing social media addiction symptoms which often pass unnoticed is growing by the day. Since 2015, the number of young adults experiencing sleep issues notes a disturbing jump from 26% to approximately 41%. The same study on social media addiction effects shows 35.1% of young adults displaying bad results in their academic performance and again this percentage has increased from 22.8% back in 2015.
The fact that, according to social media addiction facts, 70% of US teenagers feel left out or excluded when using social media is more than distressing. More stats reveal that 43% of teens delete their posts because they didn’t get the number of likes they were aiming for and another 43% feel absolutely devastated because no one likes their posts. But perhaps the most alarming data is that 35% of teens with low social-emotional well-being said they have been cyberbullied when using social media.
In relation to the harmful effects and the dangers of social media, statistics indicate that when smartphones first appeared there was a sudden spike in depression symptoms, suicide risk factors, and rates in the teenage population. Taking into account the data that the majority of US teens (95%) own a smartphone and are obsessed with checking their phones, a recent social media addiction study revealed that a staggering 71% of teens who spend over 5 hours a day on social media are more vulnerable to suicide compared to their peers who ‘socialize’ for an hour or so.
Stats like this one show that this is the biggest and most used social media platform in the world. Then, 48% of people aged 18-34 log in to check Facebook right when they wake up and one third do it before they go to bed. The greatest concern here is that perpetual habits such as these are considered unhealthy and leading causes of social media addiction.
(Statista, Tech Addiction)
Every second that passes sees 6 new profiles created on the social network, while the platform is home to more than 5 million active advertisers. Social media addiction stats meanwhile show that the average Facebook user spends around 35 minutes daily browsing the social network, and 24% of these users spend their time observing others’ posts and images.
That nearly seven out of 10 Americans have Facebook is hardly surprising. Social media addiction statistics, however, indicate that 74% of them sign in and check the app at least once a day and a massive 51% do it several times a day. The stats are in line with those from 2016 when the social network experienced a remarkable usage growth in the US but the sad part is the borderline addictive behavior of users also remains consistent.
Social media addiction is described as an uncontrollable urge to use the internet and social media, leading to a state where one is overly concerned when they are not online. Social media addiction facts show that the dependency impairs other important areas of their life because they devote so much effort and time to their social media cravings. Psychologists today estimate that anywhere between 5% and 10% of Americans are suffering from this condition.
Data about millennials and social media reveal their age group is most prone to become social media addicts. This is mainly because they love to share and inspire, thinking in this way they will be better able to express themselves. Studies about addiction to social media also show they do it because they like to show off and get comments and likes. However, their main drive in this endeavor is that they are absolutely mortified of missing out on vital information.
There is no simple answer to this question as solving this problem must take place over time with the understanding that it is a process, not an instant fix. That said, quitting cold turkey is an efficient method, though not many are capable of following through. That’s why taking it one step at a time is a more viable alternative. For example, switching to meeting people in real life is a good first step, which you can supplement by making social media a treat to reward yourself occasionally. Another social media addiction treatment is to start spending more time with your loved ones or pick up a new hobby to invest your time in, as well as simply turn off your notifications permanently.
While there is no denying that the internet has made our lives simpler and better in many aspects, it is not without consequences. Social media addiction statistics underscore the negative effects of the overuse of digital technologies, especially for mental health and overall social-emotional well-being. Unplugging from social media, therefore, is something everyone needs to do every once in a while.