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Can you go 24 Hours without Social Media?

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January 23, 2012

What was the world like pre-social media? Hi 5, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler and many others are replacing good old fashioned in person interaction. It is common today to hear someone talking text language in person. Have you ever noticed how many people use electronic devices at the dinner table? What happened to real conversation? Recently, I was out at a restaurant and this family of four sat right across from me. Dad was on an iPad, mom had a kindle, and the two sons were on cell phones. I resisted temptation to take a photo as this would have been probably just as socially disturbing as their behavior.

A study was done in the UK comparing addiction to technology similar to drug cravings. International Centre for Media & the Public Agenda (ICMPA) and the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change found that 4 out of 5 students, out of 1,000 students studied, were unable to go 24 hours unplugged. Words used to describe the emotional experience of not having technology were “anxiety, panic, and frustration”. Some of the student quotes depicted someone who was suffering from a terminal disease or addiction. One student reports, “I am an addict. I don’t need alcohol, cocaine or any other derailing form of social depravity… media is my drug; without it I was lost.” Really, is this what the world is coming too?

The constant need for external stimulation and connection is making us addicted to  social media. The development of this type of dependence seems to start at home with parents who even defer to social networking and media as babysitters. Live interaction is lost and the pattern develops and continues through adulthood. What if we actually had to entertain ourselves without social media like the olden days?

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