Why your social media habit is probably not an addiction – new research

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Social media apps are useful sources of information. They help us catch up with the activities of friends, news, current affairs, government COVID updates and the latest happenings in celebrity and sport. But during the pandemic, you may have felt you spend too much time on social media. On occasion you may have seen the phrase "social media detox" posted by users who want to stop their social media use entirely for a period of time, presumably because they feel that it's become excessive. With concerns about the frequency of social media use, particularly among young people, allied with language such as "detox", it’s no surprise researchers who work in the field of addictions have started to assess whether social media engagement might be an activity which could cross a threshold from frequent use to addictive behaviour. In our new study, we investigated whether people who use social media a lot display one key aspect of addiction – something called an attentional bias.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2021


  • social media
  • attention
  • psychology
  • research
  • iphone
  • addiction
  • apps


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