A group of friends look down at their mobile phones

Dealing with an addiction of any kind is an uphill battle for anyone that struggles with it. Regardless of what that addiction is, deciding to kick it to the curb is one thing, but to actually do it is another. 

When it comes to social media addiction, however, just how serious is it? There are studies that have suggested that social media serves as a gateway to hard drugs. 

According to research published by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), teens that used social media were more likely to succumb to tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse, than teens who don’t actively participate in social media sites.

Young minds are impressionable. They literally become human sponges of information, regardless of whether it’s false or factual. We, as human beings, are easily influenced by whatever we see, touch, feel, or smell. 

Mainstream media knows this, as do many people in positions of political power. Bottom line, if they know this, so do the people who run social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. These are the three big giants, so to speak, of the social media world. 

Are these three directly responsible for some of the physiological, social, and other problems that plague the people in this world today? The answer to that is yes, but let’s be frank here. Mainstream media started this long before social media joined the ranks. 

Television has, and deservedly so, received the most amount of criticism for turning perfectly normal people into junkies. It’s not called corporate TV for nothing. Everything seen on television is a program, all of it doing exactly as scripted, which is to program watchers into the human equivalent of mindless jellyfish.

Through commercials, as well as all sorts of broadcasts on television, there were addictions even to this form of media by people who couldn’t help but get drawn to the flash of the screen in all its wonderment. Those who manned the networks, along with the sponsors that ran different programs on television, literally gained full control of anybody and everybody who took in whatever was shown as a form of religion. 

Even religious programs took advantage of this, knowing there was an audience that could be reached. Ever since the invention of the radio and television, people were constantly told how to act, think, and even dress.

Over the years, radio and television became more sophisticated. As technology continued to run its course, cell phones, computers, and tablets wormed their way into becoming just as much a part of people’s lives as breathing oxygen. Well, at least among folks who soak all this seemingly wonderful technology up in the exact same manner they did as little kids.

So this now reverts back to the original question at hand. Is social media serving as a gateway to hard drugs? 

Well, people may or may not be aware that there are a number of commercials that run on social media sites like YouTube because they’re not approved for network television. This means these ads can usually get away with more suggestive material, which can become even more impressionable than what’s seen on TV.

We live in an age now where there seems to be more uncertainty than ever. There are also more stigmas in place than ever before where some of it is justified and some of it isn’t. 

People are judgmental creatures, usually by habit, because this is how they’ve been conditioned. There is an old proverb that suggests children learn what they live. This isn’t just a proverb. 

This is true, and it applies to children of all ages. It doesn’t matter if you’re just two years old or ninety-two years old. Every single one of your senses responds to what it’s been exposed to and will react accordingly. Usually, people of stronger spirit can overcome, but it doesn’t mean they’re immune.

Like all addictions, it first boils down to recognising what it is. If you find your entire world revolved around whoever is saying what on the internet, then the odds are you are dealing with an addiction. 

Hands use mobile phone with social media icons

It’s exactly the same problem as an addict of television who automatically believes whatever they’re told by broadcasters because they said so. 

Actually, this has always been a problem with society, which is why people seem to have issues learning from all the past mistakes that have been made. 

What is said again about those who fail to learn from the past? For those who know the answer to this question and take it seriously, they know the bigger picture at hand. Of those who don’t, hopefully, they learn sooner than later as it will boil down to a matter of life and death. In all honesty, this is how addictions play themselves out too.

In reality, social media has always been a part of society. However, social media as we know it now is the blinky lights that come with audio and video. Long before the radio and long before television, there were newspapers. Prior to newspapers, there were busybodies and gossips who each seemed to have addictions of their own. 

Since day one, people have been prone to respond to whatever it is they’re exposed to, no matter what it is. And, since each person is different from the other, we each respond to whatever we’re exposed to differently.

Based on the studies shared by experts who suggest social media serves as a gateway to hard drugs, as well as other issues, there is an agreement that it does play a huge factor. It can steer people, regardless of age, down directions at a much faster pace than the rest of the population. 

However, we are each responsible for our own choices. This includes knowing when to switch off and release ourselves from the endless scrolling and feed hopping that social media has trained us all to become addicted to.

Akashic Times is the UK’s only online, fully independent not-for-profit newspaper that brings you real news from across the globe.

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