The idea that social media is “addictive” isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Pretty much everyone with a wifi connection has used social media and has felt the compulsion to constantly check it. But what is, in my view, groundbreaking, are Sam Vaknin’s ideas on social media, how it actually works, and what it’s doing to everyone on a deep psychological level.
And Sam Vaknin would know because he’s a world-renowned psychologist that advises European parliaments as many countries in Europe are developing social media regulations.
I’m going to add these 3 videos below. Yes, they are long but I absolutely believe they are worth listening to (even if I don’t agree with Mr. Vaknin about everything). And I say listen because the videos don’t necessarily need to be watched, you can treat them as podcasts and listen during your commute or workout or while you clean the house, etc.
Finally, if Mr. Vaknin’s credentials weren’t enough to convince you, here’s a list of things that I’ve learned from these talks, beyond the basic “social media is addictive.”
- Social media is NOT addictive; it is conditioning. Conditioning is actually much worse.
- Social networks keep people on their platforms not only by giving intermittent dopamine hits but also by primarily encouraging negative emotions. These platforms are designed, likely intentionally and possibly criminally, to allow the worst human emotions- envy, hatred, “us vs. them,” bullying, etc.- to flourish.
- Social networking is like the anti-life equation to intimacy. And for those of you who didn’t understand that DC comics reference, it basically means that social media causes people to become extremely adverse to and almost incapable of intimacy via conditioning.
- Social media has led to a rise in narcissim.
- All social networks were created by men (there were no women) with specific psychological profiles.
- Social media has caused a drastic rise in suicides among people aged 15 -25. Suicide is now the leading cause of death in this age group.
- Sam Vaknin predicts that suicides will increase among users ages 40-65+ over the next decade.
- A little known country called France has banned the use of social media and smart devices in schools because the French government has found social media to be unequivocally harmful to anyone under the age of 18.
- Social networks are creating distinct psychological profiles between users and non-users on a global scale. These differences in psychology are not determined by race, political alignment, socio-economic status, geography, religion, age, etc. The world is being split into users and non-users, there is no other distinction.
- The aforementioned split in psychology between users and non-users is creating a mass shared psychosis between users. This level of mass psychosis has not happened on such a large scale since Nazi Germany.
- Social media forces you deny your own identity.
- And much, much more!