Millions of people use social media, many overuse it, and some are actually clinically addicted. Isaac Vaghefi, assistant professor at the Binghamton University School of Management, says that about fifteen to twenty percent of the college students he works with fall into the problematic category. But who is most likely to develop a social media problem?
Vaghefi’s research suggests that certain personality traits, particularly neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness, may be important predictors of social media addiction. But Vaghefi says the relationships are complicated. For example, neuroticism can dampen the benefits of conscientiousness. And individuals who fall at the extreme ends of the spectrum for many personality traits (highly agreeable or highly disagreeable, highly extroverted or highly introverted) may be more prone to social media addiction.
For those with personalities that raise red flags, Vaghefi isn’t suggesting personality change. Rather, he says that monitoring social media usage – being mindful about it – can help reduce the risk of addiction. And, wouldn’t you know it? There’s an app for that.