Is it time to really look at what social media is doing to us? The issue here is that we really don’t know the long term consequences of too much screen time, because being attached to screens for hours at our time is a relatively new aspect of our day-to-day lifestyle.
It’s been just 10 short years since the first iPhone was released and about the same amount of time since Facebook began to really start to pick up speed. Facebook in particular has changed our society in many ways, but there’s one most obvious change that has been coming to light in recent years — how addictive and time consuming it’s become.
Personally, I have noticed my own addiction to screens. I work on a computer, and in fact a large part of my job involves Facebook directly. I often get sidetracked by the endless scroll through the newsfeed, and although there is some great content and it’s nice to see what friends and family members are up to, or what’s happening in the world around me, for the most part it’s a waste of time, and realistically, it can be a trap.
I’ve realized that I’m not the only one who feels this way and even the ex-President of Facebook himself, Sean Parker, recently had this to say at a conference:
“The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible? And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments. It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.”
Having Awareness About The Why Can Help To Break The Addiction
Knowing that there is an agenda behind this addiction, and that it is designed to keep you hooked, can potentially help you to understand why you may have fallen victim to it. Facebook is not the innocent bystander in this equation, as Parker mentioned, they know full well what they are doing, and designing it for that reason — to keep you online, to keep you stuck in this endless, often mindless loop of, “the scroll.” With that in mind, do you want to give away your power to a massive corporation that clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart? Because at the end of the day, what this all comes down to, at the bare minimum at least, is to sell you stuff.