Social Media Social Good – The Social Media Addiction Test

Category: Social Media Social Good Series, Weekly Columns

Social Media Addiction is as real as any addiction

There’s no doubt that there will be more and more columns, magazine covers, and television coverage of the affects of technology on our lives. Our kids have grown up in a smart-phone tech world and know nothing other than that reality. We all now have what I call virtual friends, those “friends” that we actually consider friends but that we’ve actually never met or even spoken with. When I was kid that was the stuff of science fiction. So, it was inevitable that some of us would get addicted to our tech, to Social Media, and the devices we seem to cherish.

Social Media Addiction is real

Recently, I shared the story of a “friend” – admitted it was me – and how I reacted to thinking I’d lost my so-called smart-phone. I acted like a fool – inside. That was a wake-up call though I haven’t really adjusted my behavior significantly – yet. Will I? I hope so. Our family used to take Friday nights off. We’d have a family dinner. We’d have no electronics on or at the table and we’d then either play a board game after or watch a mutually agreed-upon movie together – again, without phones.

Life has changed since those seemingly long bygone days. My older son is away at college and my 16-year-old is surgically attached to his phone, texting whenever we do sit in front of the television together though not at the dinner table. I believe his life is full and I’m not overly concerned that he’s got a Social Media addiction because of his active participation in the drama club at school, listening to music (mostly musical theatre) a lot of the time, and doing very well academically. It may not be the way I’d choose for him to spend his time, but it’s his life and I believe he’s making the right choices for himself.

The Thinker as a twitter addict

What is an addict? We all know the stereotype addictions of alcohol, drugs, gambling, and sex. But, we also know of food addictions and those who spend inordinate amounts of time in front of the tube, and other such pursuits that aren’t formally classified as addiction. Whether the psychological journals have or haven’t added Social Media Addiction (or Anxiety) to its list of “official” disorders, I have added it to my list.

Herewith is a test to determine the level of social media addiction – or not – that you may have when it comes to your tech, your time spent on your computer, phone, video games, etc. Do you dare take this test?

Social Media Addiction statistics

1. How many hours – per day – do you spend on tech devices – that are NOT work-related? That includes time – at work – that you go on Facebook and such?

A – 1-2 hours
B – 3-4 hours
C – More than 4 hours

2. Do you shut off your technology?

A – At least once a week for a full day
B – When I go to sleep,
C – Rarely

3. If you misplaced your smart-phone would you?

A – Relax, think, and review where it might be
B – Get a little frazzled
C – Go into full panic mode

Chuck & Beans comic about Facebook and Communication

4. You leave the house and a few minutes after you left, you realize you left your smart-phone at home. What do you do?

A – Laugh it off; think it’ll be good to have a break from it
B – Calculate how long I’ll be gone and if it’s short enough, let it go
C – Immediately return home to get it.

5. When you are waiting for a tech response of some kind, whether it is personal or professional, how often to you check your email or texts?

A – When it’s convenient, or when a device beeps
B – Every hour or so
C – Obsessively, often several times one after another

6. When on vacation, do your habits change regarding checking email, texts, and such?

A – I leave the tech at home or take a phone or portable computer/tablet checking in occasionally
B – I only use the computer or phone to check times, places, and such and check in with email/texts perhaps once a day
C – Nothing changes except if I’m out of wi-fi range and I don’t like that

Tweet about it comic

7. When you plan a vacation, do you check that wi-fi is available at any hotel you are thinking of booking?

A – I choose the best hotel, the best price, regardless of wi-fi access
B – I check for wi-fi, prefer it to be available, but won’t let the lack of it influence my choice
C – No wi-fi, No stay

8. When a new generation device or update comes out for your favorite tech toy, what do you do?

A – Nothing
B – Read about it, consider when and if I need it, and perhaps update or purchase it over the next couple/three months
C – But of course, GET it now

9. Do you watch television or movies on a smart-phone or tablet?

A – Never
B – Occasionally, on a plane or when stuck waiting somewhere
C – What else would I use to watch the things I love?

10. You’re with a friend and your cell-phone rings. What do you do?

A – Hit silent and turn it off
B – Look to see who’s calling and if it’s important, answer it
C – Answer immediately

George Washington tweets

Since this test is obviously scientific and immaculately researched, it’s doubtful you could see a pattern in the answers so grading is clearly quite difficult. Not true, of course. Clearly, answers A, B, and C each demonstrated a level of shall we say “connection” to our tech, to Social Media (ie. social media addiction).

It is not for me to judge how many of any of these questions answered A, B, or C would qualify you as having a Social Media addiction, but I suspect if you had 8-10 C answers, you should check the AA directory soon. For the rest of you, I hope this test was self-revealing, on the assumption you answered honestly!

How about skipping that $5 Starbucks latte and splurging $2.99 (for the Kindle on Amazon) or $2.79 for the PDF of my new e-book? Enjoy my own informercial for it! This e-book is really a virtual journey. It’s filled with 100 photos, 7 original videos, and links to many of the stops on the trip. Click on the book cover image below to find your purchase options:

Dealing with The Empty Nest


  • Nathasha Alvarez

    I scored mostly in the middle. 🙂 I can go without my smart phone IF I know it’s in a safe place. But I would do that if it were a regular cell phone. 🙂 

    • Bruce Sallan

      You are the first to report results for the text @twitter-16091340:disqus – thank you! I wonder who else will be brave enough to both take it and reveal their results!?

  • Daniel Alexander

    I don’t have a smart phone – hehehe
    I agree that technology is destroying face to face (I wonder if there is an acronym for that FTF??) communication.
    In addition, depression and most addictions are on the rise.
    Think there is a connection…
    Of course there is.
    The root of most addictions is internal loneliness (according to my research and interviews).
    There is no real fulfillment in technology.
    It’s only a mask, some temporary happiness, actually kind of like booz.
    It makes you feel okay for a while, but only when you using it.
    So what to do, what to do?
    Use it some more; then I feel okay.
    O also, in South Africa (I can’t speak for the US) there are still kids that don’t live on their social media.
    In many of those cases, they have a strong relationship with their parents; relationships that their parents cultivated and actively worked on.
    You can see and hear the difference.

    • Bruce Sallan

      Hmmm @daniel_dinnie:disqus – no smart phone? Now, that may be another problem altogether given what you do online! LOL…it’s so interesting that what you wrote could be applied to any drug or alcohol addiction. They are so related, don’t you think?

      • Daniel Alexander

        Yip, like a ‘caveman’ I still use a desktop computer.
        I don’t know if you remember what they look like, but it’s a rather large tower that sits on the floor. Attached to that, via cables, is a screen.
        Becoming more serious, you are one-hundred-and-ten per cent correct.
        All addiction is related.
        That’s why you don’t get just alcoholics, you get whore-mongering, chain-smoking, alcoholic, gamblers. (Sounds mean, but I’m just trying to add a little humor to a serious topic. I empathize deeply with people who suffer from addiction.)
        At the root of any addiction is an unresolved emotional problem.
        You become addicted to what ever substance or activity is brought into your life.
        If you are I face a similar problem and have the same emotional problem, we may both become addicts.
        If your friends introduce you to drugs and mine to alcohol, you may be more predisposed to becoming a drug addict, while I may be more predisposed to becoming an alcoholic.
        I genuinely feel very sorry for people who suffer from addiction.
        In addition, our society doesn’t do much to help.
        We ridicule them, we don’t try understand them, we vilify them.
        Actually that applies to most mental-illness.
        A feeling I know well; sad ;(

        • Bruce Sallan

          Then there’s the Apple desktop @daniel_dinnie:disqus which is all in one without all those messy cables. You may not know of Apple given your caveman existence, but check it out. They make smart-phones, too. 

          I couldn’t do my work without the portability that my laptop, iPhone, and occasionally my iPad affords me. I use the iPad less – don’t really need it since my laptop has more on it and is a bit more user-friendly for me. 

          Because I do a lot of photo and/or video, I often have up to 5 devices with me that can take photos and/or video. It is amazing the variety that I can easily carry with me. 

          A GoPro camera for action video is truly amazing. Just look at the eleven videos I made for this week’s column:

          I’m quite proud of that column and those videos. Note that ALL the music was performed by my son, Arnie Sallan.

          • Daniel Alexander

            If I ran Apple and made a smart phone, I’d call it the… wait for it… iPhone.
            Yes, we get Apple over there.
            However, it’s only the last seven or eight years that they’ve really started making their way into the public.
            I still have a PC and have no intentions of moving to MAC (MAC is also makeup and I don’t use that either – there’s an extra little tidbit for you).
            I’m trying to spend less time on these things, not more.
            I still carry pen and paper with me.
            If needed I carry my lap top.
            My phone doesn’t even have a color screen.
            It’s the best 😀
            If there is a genuine need to carry a device, then that’s great.
            However there are far too many people who buy into the marketing of devices today without thinking if they need it or not.
            Most people don’t use a fraction of the features on their phones, but they are cleverly packaged and marketed with fancy positions and people continue to pour money into them.
            The funny thing with all this technology is they are marketed as ways to save us time and money, but how many people say today, “I’m too busy, I have no time,” “I have no money.”
            Makes you wonder…

          • Bruce Sallan

            @daniel_dinnie:disqus – I’d quibble with most of your comment but FULLY agree with the last thing you wrote – the irony that technology which was supposed to make life easier has only made it more overwhelming and potentially 24/7!

  • Patrick

    5 C answers, 3 Bs and 2 As.
    So I guess I’m an addict, albeit not as bad of one as I could be.

    • Bruce Sallan

      @Patricksplace:disqus – I’d say you’re on the cusp…assuming, which I do, that you answered correctly!

  • Lisa Buben

    I wasn’t as bad as I thought Bruce 🙂 I don’t always answer the phone when it ring, more likely to respond to a text. And I don’t watch movies or TV via my cell. 
    Love your images! 

    • Bruce Sallan

      I’m glad @Lisapatb:disqus – I’m going to be curious to see how many peeps take and post their results to this test!

  • David Weber

    I got 6 B answers and 4 A answers.  I dislike SoMe with a passion, as much as I’ve ever disliked any feature of our culture.  It has many good characteristics, such as being a point of access to information you want or need in a hurry; and certainly it has been used to save lives in emergency situations; but very broadly overall, I consider the quality of my life to be declining the larger a role social may play in it.

    • Bruce Sallan

      Obviously I disagree @7f990e539df4ddefe26884eb65a5f04c:disqus – #SocialMedia is benign. It’s use is the issue. Water can save lives or it can kill (tsunamis, drowning, etc.)…but in and of itself, it’s benign…

      • David Weber

        I agree with your observation.  Also note that  I framed my comment in very subjective terms, to express a personal experience of social media rather than make a pronouncement as such on social media.  Yes, the impact and value of a tool of any kind is established by the uses humans make of it or the meanings they attribute to it.

        • Bruce Sallan

          Then we agree @7f990e539df4ddefe26884eb65a5f04c:disqus 

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