Many people enjoying using online social networks and for many varied purposes from simple entertainment and education to marketing and campaigning. However, the call and response, the likes and follows, the thumbs-up and the thumbs-down are thought to invoke feelings of need in susceptible individuals that may or may not become what in more familiar contexts be described as addictions.
A study of hundreds of students at a private American University in the State of Kuwait suggests that approximately two-thirds of the students may be addicted to using online social networks. Whether or not true harm is being done to such individuals remains a question to be answered especially given how increasingly enmeshed in contemporary society are the rapidly developing tools of online social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Instagram and many others.
Society needs to understand and educate those who may develop problems associated with low self-esteem, withdrawal effects, habit, and depression associated with the constant use of online social networks.
Rabaa’i, A.A., Bhat, H. and Al-Maati, S.A. (2018) ‘Theorising social networks addiction: an empirical investigation‘, Int. J. Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp.1-24.