You’re an addict and you don’t even know it

Instagram likes = Cocaine?

So this was supposed to be a podcast, but I had a technical fail. This shows how reliant we are on our technology and when it fails us, we feel cheated and helpless. I was depending on my podcast to be uploaded and work smoothly, I wanted it to be a success. Quite frankly I thought I would face no problems and everything would go as I planned, just the way it should. We think it’s a given that our technologies work and nothing fails us because that is what we have been told to believe, it’s what sells all these products. Honestly, as a whole, on a regular basis everything runs smoothly. Occasionally we troubleshoot our problems but nothing major. We know this because we are constantly using our phones. If we use it almost every hour of the day, it has to run smoothly. If not, what’s the point? We’re addicted and we don’t know. The failures almost feel like a withdrawal. Our bodies and minds are not using to a detaching from technology and if it fails us we do not know what to do. We are all addicted. 

Now, let me start all over again. Today I wanted to speak about an article I came across, a scientific article about various addiction. Apparently there is now a disorder called social media addiction. I know this must sound crazy, something your mom would make up to ask you to stop using your phone, but it’s more real than you think. According to neuroscientists, social media comes with mood altering properties. Therefore this means that it has a direct impact on your brain and in turn on your body. The use of social media has become a normal part of our lives, we wake up in the morning and the first thing we do is check our phones to see if someone has messaged us, tagged us in a photo or liked our photos. These mentions and likes cause have the same exact effect on the brain as real chemical drugs. They have dopamine inducing properties which is similar to a drug like cocaine. So yes, our phones are like a drug addiction. 

I’m sure we are all very self conscious and aware of how much we use our phones. We mention it everyday and it has become a more recurring topic of conversation. But, speaking for myself, I do not see drastic changes being made to cut this addiction. Why? Why can’t we just delete the applications and keep our phone for the basic uses of calling? I thought a lot about an answer to this question and I think the answer is that we simply cannot. Our world is so digitalised that we are almost forced into having smart phones and all the applications that come with it. “It’s part of your life” as my mom would say. She’s not wrong. I feel as though from one day to another I was dropped into a digital pool and I had to survive only by adhering to all the norms and apps being created. Obviously when we were younger we did not realise how dependant we were because our needs were different as well. Now, I see that if I chose to delete instagram I will lose touch with certain friends or even work opportunities, if I delete facebook my boss can’t contact me and I won’t be able to contact my university classmates, if I delete snapchat all my photos and memories will be deleted for good and I’m not ready for that. We have been conditioned to think that we need to have all these things in our lives. I genuinely feel dependant on my phone and on why socials to never let me down because everything I do requires them to function. From entertainment to work to university, everything is dependant. We are addicted and we need to accept it. I did not want to accept it, I hate labelling myself as an addict, but unfortunately its true. I do feel happy when people like my photos, especially if it’s people I admire, it makes you feel validated. Validation and recognition are some of the worst parts of this addiction and that is exactly what produces that dopamine in your brain. I know people who delete their photos and posts if they do not reach a certain number of likes or if the person they want does not like their photo. Thank god I am not that bad, but clearly it’s a very common problem and one that is not recognised so much. 

So yes, what I’m saying is that likes on instagram have the same effect on your brain as cocaine. DON’T BE DEPENDANT ON EITHER TO ALTER YOUR MOOD. It is sad to think that we actually have a term “digital detox” in our vocabulary, but I definitely need one. 

Hopefully next time I can upload my podcast, without any problems, and you can hear the perspective of a gamer boy, who to me seems addicted to gaming but he thinks he has everything under control.