Is “binge watching” Facebook a waste of time?

By Shannon Quinn

Let’s be honest. Time gets away from us when we start scrolling on Facebook. In an Inside Business article, business consultant Nathan Tabor is mortified when he finds out he spends 30 minutes a day on Facebook, which adds up to 180 hours a year. Tabor thought he only “spent a little time on Facebook here and there”, but between scrolling, watching videos, and posting, the time we spend on Facebook adds up quickly.

scrolling

 Image credit: imgflip.com

How much time do you spend on social media a day? Probably the same amount of time as Tabor, if not more. Are we wasting our time?

To answer this question, let’s look at why we “waste” so much time on social media. A Sydney Morning Herald article examined research published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology to answer this question. 44 people were asked to look at both Facebook and neutral images, and all 44 underestimated the time they looked at the Facebook images, concluding that they lost track of time. Health and community psychologist Marny Lishman says this happens because “spending time on Facebook stimulates our brain and releases the feel-good hormone, dopamine” so “our brains then get used to that amount of “checking”, so we need to indulge in more of the same behaviour to reach that level of arousal”.

So what’s’ the problem with spending so much time on social media if it makes us feel good? Social media is great because it keeps us connected to our family, friends, the world, and has adorable cat videos. But too much social media robs us from “important chill-out time that our minds and bodies [need] to unwind.” Believe it or not, social media is not relaxing. Your brain is being flooded with hundreds of thoughts and feelings, and this sensory information needs to be processed. You’re brain is anything but relaxed.

relax

Image credit: montereybayholistic.com

The solution to this issue is not to stop using social media altogether. Instead, try timing yourself so you don’t lose track of time, and fill in most of your free time with relaxing activities instead of social media.

 

Citations:

              Tabor, Nathan. “Expert Column | Time Spent on Social Media Adds up Quickly.” Virginian-Pilot. Inside Business, 10 Feb. 2017. Web. 19 Feb. 2017. http://pilotonline.com/inside-business/news/columns/expert-column-time-spent-on-social-media-adds-up-quickly/article_3ffc993e-49d2-5199-858c-f402194495d2.html          

               Lewin, Evelyn. “Why We Waste Our Time on Facebook.” The Sydney Morning Herald. The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Feb. 2017. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/wellbeing/why-we-waste-our-time-on-facebook-20170214-gucgjx.html                      

 

 

 

 

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism