The darkside of the like

The effects of social media addiction on digital and in-person communication


  • Rebecca Rast Missouri State University
  • Joshua T. Coleman Missouri State University
  • Christina S. Simmers Missouri State University


Social media addiction, FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, Addictive Behaviors of Social Media, Social Media Outcomes


Social media are an important, widely used communication tool for individuals and businesses.  However, there is the dark side of social media addiction and its impact to consider.  Young adults were asked to identify the social media platforms they use and measure their use of those platforms.  They were then asked to restrict their use of social media for 24-hours and record their emotions at the 1-hour, 4-hour, 8-hour, 12-hour, and 24-hour marks with both open-ended and quantitative indices.  Social media is addicting in part because of a fear of missing out (FOMO) and platform features like notifications, limitations on time to view, streaks, and the desire to stay current on world news.  Participants’ self-evaluation of their relationship with social media was compared to the symptoms and outcomes found in the social media addiction literature.  Symptoms included time distortion and brain and behavior changes.  Outcomes included depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor sleep, feelings of guilt, diminished performance, and decreased cognitive capacity.  A positive result from the study was the awareness participants gained of their emotional attachment to social media.  Awareness is the first step to addressing addiction.

Author Biographies

Rebecca Rast, Missouri State University

Assistant Professor of Marketing

Joshua T. Coleman, Missouri State University

Assistant Professor of Marketing

Christina S. Simmers, Missouri State University

Professor of Marketing


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