The reality TV sisters were caught texting during a moment of silence at the MTV Video Awards, bringing to light the realities of social media addiction.
On August 24th, at the Video Music Awards (VMAs) in Los Angeles, the famous reality TV sisters, the Kardashians/Jenners were caught on video consumed by their smartphones during a moment of silence for Michael Brown, an 18-year-old who was gunned down by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last month in what is being labeled a racial dispute.
The shooting has caused weeks of unrest for the people of Ferguson where demonstrations and looting took hold of the town following the incident. Rapper Common took to the stage at the VMAs and asked the crowd to give a moment of silence. When MTV’s live-stream video caught the Kardashian sisters texting on their phones during this time, the country went into an uproar on social media, upset by the lack of empathy and respect, they believed, the sisters displayed.
This is not the first time the reality TV stars have been called out on their apparent addiction to social media. And they are by far not the only people in the U.S. and around the globe that are suffering from this condition.
Internet addiction is real, and it is taking the world by gigabytes. According to the National Institutes of Health, Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) “ruins lives by causing neurological complications, psychological disturbances and social problems.” In other words, holding a tiny computer (smartphone) that gives you access to constantly new and changing information is something that can alter your psychological behaviour, and is something that people can develop an addiction to.
Hillarie Cash, founder of reSTART, an internet addiction recovery centre in Washington, says that “we are very drawn to novelty and it activates a part of the brain that is curious and seeking… We feel rewarded with the next tweet…” An article on CSBnews.com states that “some aspects of social media activity (for example, getting “likes”) appear to stimulate reward centres in the brain.”
As with drug or alcohol abuse, too much of this stimulus can cause very negative effects. In the case of internet addiction, it causes people to lose proper social skills, neglect important activities and responsibilities – some even go as far as neglecting their own children. There have been numerous cases around the globe where internet and internet gaming addictions have led to deaths due to negligence, or violence when the internet has been taken away from them.
In a world where technology is rapidly evolving, and information is coming at us constantly, it is sometimes hard for the curious human brain to resist checking up on what’s new every five minutes. And social media gives us a false feeling of being connected to others. It becomes problematic when you are more engrossed in the information filling your tiny screen than you are with the five friends you have sitting around the table with you.
A video on YouTube depicts a day in the life of a young woman who is completely alone despite being surrounded by her friends. But how can someone be alone while hanging out with their friends? Because everyone around her is too busy consuming material online, and sharing their lives via social media rather than actually living in the moment.
Internet addiction, social media addiction, internet gaming addiction – these are all words that are popping up everywhere lately. And it is because it is a serious problem for many. If you think you might be too involved with your smartphone, check out these tips on how to distance yourself. Or contact a professional if social media and/or the internet is negatively impacting your life.