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BizReport : Social Marketing : May 27, 2014

Is social media turning users into psychopaths?

Back away from the screen. Spending too much time staring at a screen, whether a PC monitor, tablet or smartphone could be turning you into a psychopath, according to information released by Who Is Hosting This.

by Helen Leggatt

Social media is great for keeping in touch with family and friends, playing games or making your name online. Today, American adults are spending an average of 8 hours each day in front of a screen. Children spend an average of 7 hours engaged with a screen although when texting, instant messaging and browsing on their phones is added in to the mix that total rises to 11 hours.

All that time spent interacting with technology, and not fellow humans, could be psychologically damaging. So much so that an appendix in the latest edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-V), a resource for clinicians, researchers, insurers, and patients produced by the American Psychiatric Association, now includes 'Internet Addiction Disorder'.

Specifically, Who Is Hosting This looked at ways in which social media is changing behavior and potentially turning users into psychopaths. The web-hosting research and review site revealed statistics showing that social media users lie, are self-obsessed, exhibit poor behavioral control and are more anti-social.

Not everyone who uses social media falls into the above categories, but the key statistics from Who Is Hosting This show that 2 in 5 spend more time socializing online than in 'real-life', 30% of women have lied about doing something at home alone and 28% of children aged 11 to 16 have experienced bullying via the Internet or mobile phone.

"After millennia spent trying to master the world in which we actually live, humanity's widespread adoption of Internet-based technology has fundamentally altered not only the ways in which we communicate with others, gather information, and entertain ourselves, but our perceptions and needs," says Who Is Hosting This in a blog post. "Advances in hardware and networking have made staying in the know and on the go easier than ever. But too much time spent living in our virtual paradise just might be causing some of us to act like devils."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: behavior, Internet use, psychiatry, social media

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