Social Media More Addictive Than Booze and Cigs

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If your urges to stay connected 24/7 bring you to hyperbolic declarations of powerlessness, you can now leave the hyperbole at the door. Results of a new study confirm what you've claimed for years: checking email and social media is more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol.

Led by Wilhelm Hofmann, a team from Chicago University's Booth Business School conducted an experiment using BlackBerry devices to test the will power of 205 people between the ages of 18 and 85 in the German city of Wurtzburg.

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Participants were asked seven times a day over the course of a week to identify desires they were experiencing and the strength of said desires.

The team sifted through thousands of responses and came up with some telling results. Thankfully, the study showed we're all not slaves to vice and distraction, as the need for sleep and leisure topped the list.

However, next on the list of "self-control failure rates" was checking in with social media, email and work — ahead of the urge to have a Camel Light, while sipping on that glass of 12-year single malt scotch.

"Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not 'cost much' to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist," Hofmann told the Guardian.

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"With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs — long-term as well as monetary — and the opportunity may not always be the right one," Hofmann added. "So, even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may still 'steal' a lot of people's time."

In light of all this, let's allow George McGregor and The Bronzettes to serenade all of us who lack the willpower to resist what we crave. Take it away George.

Image: Michael Cogliantry/Getty Images

 

The Guardian