UNITED STATES—The internet has changed our lives in many ways, some of which have been for the better. It is now possible to enjoy playing games against real people, make purchases, and even have a bet on sporting events. All of these activities are now taken for granted and the internet has become a tremendous source of information.

For instance, when sports betting, you want to get the best value for your money. You will find many promotional and bonus codes online and a great example is Reddit. Gamble USA rounded up the best bonus codes on Reddit so you do not have to keep searching the forums yourself but it is interesting how Reddit has developed over the years. People have questioned if Reddit is social media and, in many respects, it is, all be it based around communities rather than individual people. Reddit is a place where you can go to share your views on a particular subject with groups of like-minded people. Reddit is basically a forum with social media aspects and that makes it enjoyable to use.

However, social media does not end there and we live in an age where social media plays a significant role in our lives. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are all examples of social media but are they beginning to take over our lives?

In 2005, only 5% of adults in the United States reported using a social media platform but this had risen to 70% by 2019. If you ask the average person in the street who is under the age of 50, there is a good chance they have an account on at least one of the social media platforms but they have not grown up with social media.

The adolescents of today have grown up with social media and do not know a life without access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. The teenagers of today could argue social media is not taking over their lives because it has always been a part of their lives from the day they could understand how to use a mobile phone. Openly sharing their experiences on social media has become the norm for teenagers and those in their early 20’s. As far as they are concerned, that is the way it has always been and there is a need among those age groups to share every detail of their lives with other people via social media platforms.

However, there becomes a point when too much of something can become a problem and that is certainly the case with the use of social media. Adam Alter is a New York University professor and he has been looking closely at the use of Instagram in particular. Talking about the subject, he says, “The minute you take a drug, drink alcohol, smoke a cigarette if those are your poison, when you get a like on social media, all of those experiences produce dopamine, which is a chemical that’s associated with pleasure.”

Instagram is based on photos and users can spend hours perfecting the perfect image before posting it online. There are different filters which can be applied before sharing the photo with the world and the image will be shared at the best time of day, when the most people will be online to see it, like, and comment. In some ways, social media, such as Instagram and Facebook, have become vehicles for people to show only the best part of their lives.

In addition to sharing our lives, social media has become the perfect distraction. It is easy to switch off from a mundane task and begin scrolling a Twitter feed. Thanks to the introduction of notifications, it is possible to receive an update when a person or company has created a new post or Tweet. As soon as the notification is received, one tap of the screen and the social media application opens. The fear of missing out, known as FOMO, is driving many people to social media as they believe they are going to be missing out on something great if they do not continually check to see what is happening. The fact businesses are now using social media to advertise has only added to the number of times people are checking their accounts. If a clothing brand is having a sale, they will advertise it on social media and this is often the first place they will place the ad. Some companies are spending millions of dollars on social media advertising and Facebooks ads have become huge in recent years.

Let’s not forget, Facebook itself is a business and the more people who use the platform, the more money it generates for the business.

Social media is now a part of life, especially for the teenagers of today who know nothing different. It has crept into many aspects of our lives and will continue to do so as long as we have access to mobile phones and tablets.