The effect of social media and compulsive behaviour on younger and older adults

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O'Reilly, Carmel
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are still on the rise worldwide from 2006 onwards. Due to the popularity of these social networking sites, problematic internet addiction or behaviours regarding computer and internet use access is rising (De Cock, Vangeel, Klein, Minotte, Rosas & Meerkerk, 2013, p.166). The main aims and objectives of this research is to find out the amount of time younger and older adults use social media and if addictive tendencies that lead to compulsive behaviour are picked up. One critical aspect of this research topic will be to ask the question of whether the time spent on social media differs between age profiles and whether the time spent on social media leads to compulsive behaviour. This study surveyed 127 participants; they were split into two groups; younger adults (18-30) and older adults (31-64). All participants were members of the general public and they freely participated in this research which was available on survey monkey for three weeks. The mean score for younger adults was 36.69(SD = 7.68) the mean score for older adults was 31.59(SD = 9.49). An independent t-test was conducted to compare compulsive behaviour scores for younger and older adults, and showed that there was a significant difference in mean scores for younger and older adults t(125) = 3.159, p<.01. These results show that social networking can cause compulsive behaviours and it is clear that it significantly affects younger adults. Other findings such as time spent on social media also shows that 3.3 percent of younger adults scored higher on the compulsive behaviour scale compared to 2.7 percent of older adults. Author keywords: Social media, compulsive behaviour, addiction