The science behind social media addictiveness and its consequences – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

With the pandemic forcing people to stay in their own homes for extended periods of time, social media use has been at an all-time high. Between late March and early May, the Harris Poll found that between 46 percent and 51 percent of U.S. adults were using social media more since the outbreak began, with 60 percent of those who responded being ages 18 to 34. College students have often been characterized as excessive social media users, but now students’ overuse has led to questions over whether they have developed an “addiction” to social media and what the repercussions may be.

While the term, “social media addiction” is heavily used, Jennifer Penberthy, psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences doctor and professor, clarified that social media does not quite reach the diagnostic criteria for addiction in the DSM-5, the official diagnostic guide by the American Psychiatrist Association. 

However, this is primarily due to the fact that there are not enough studies on the overuse of social media to reach the diagnostic criteria, which consists of mood modification, tolerance and withdrawal. Nevertheless, the AddictionCenter states that 5 to 10 percent of Americans may meet the criteria where social media use can be