How do I avoid Facebook addiction

Social media addiction: That's why Instagram & Co. are quickly addictive

After the alarm clock goes off in the morning, many people first reach for their smartphones. You check the news, the weather forecast and see what your friends are up to on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. This is repeated several times a day: at school, at the bus stop, in the evening on the couch.

The example is fictional, but it reflects the reality of many people. In 2017, young people between the ages of twelve and 17 spent an average of almost three hours a day on social media alone. This has been shown by a study by the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit and the German Center for Addiction Issues.

Excessive scrolling through the timelines - i.e. the list of all posts from friends and other participants that you follow - can become an addiction. According to the DAK study, 2.6 percent of children and adolescents showed problematic use of social media. Figures for adults are not yet available.

Social media is not a bad thing

In themselves, Instagram, Snapchat and Co. are not bad, experts agree on this - on the contrary. "Social media also represent an opportunity," emphasizes Rainer Thomasius, head of the German Center for Child and Adolescent Addiction Issues at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.

Puberty, for example, is about emancipating oneself from the family and trying out roles. Social media can help with this.

But there are downsides. "The main problem with social media is that they provide so many things that appeal to us," says Tobias Dienlin, media psychologist at the University of Hohenheim.