NEW YORK (
) -- Using social media is harder to resist than picking up a cigarette and smoking it, a new study finds.
The survey makes the claim that not only is social media addictive, it's more addictive than some substances thought to be among the worst addictions of all: cigarettes and alcohol. The findings were released in an article from
The University of Chicago's Booth School of Business did a study in Wurtzburg, Germany comprised of 205 people, and the results found that people gave in to their social media craving far more than other perceived desires.
The people in the study were between the ages of 18 and 85.
People were polled via Blackberry smartphones seven times a day for a week for 14 hours a day. They were asked to report when they felt a desire within the past 30 minutes, whether they succumbed to the desire, and how strong it was. The desire was graded as being mild or "irresistible."
Out of 10,558 responses, 7,827 of them were reported as desires, and the highest rate of failure was tied to social media, such as
Wilhelm Hofmann, who led the team conducting the study, told the
that people may check these sites so much because although there is no immediate or obvious negative effect, they can be enormous time wasters.
"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 newspaper. "With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs -- long-term as well as monetary -- and the opportunity may not always be the right one. So, even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may still 'steal' a lot of people's time."
The study hits as social networking becomes more prevalent in our every day lives. Behemoth
Twitter keeps growing and there is constant speculation about
Perhaps the most interesting conclusion from the study is that things like tobacco, coffee, and alcohol had relatively low addiction rates, as did sports inclinations, sexual urges, and the urge to spend money.
The results from the study will be published in the
journal later this year.
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Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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