Exploring addiction to social networking service among young Chinese adults


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  • There are hundreds of SNSs, with various technological affordances, supporting a wide range of interests and practices, Users can register for social networking sites With fast technologies, people can access SNSs with their smartphones, tablets without temporal and spatial limitations.
  • Pew Research Center, May 2013, 72% of online adults use social networking sites. Young adults are the most likely to say they use social media sites.
  • With the popularity of these sites, more and more young adults extensively adopt them for different motivations, and shift their real life communication to virtual communication, which may develop an addiction to these sites.
    which are common functions of these SNSs. the top 10 sites actually have a staggering 3.2 billion individual accounts. Among them, the most popular four SNSs are
  • Like all internet applications, overuse of SNSs can lead to an array of social, psychological, physical, and other problems for young people (Blaszczynski, 2006, 4: 7-9).
  • Exploring addiction to social networking service among young Chinese adults

    1. 1. Exploring Addictive Tendencies of Using Social Networking Sites among Chinese Young Adults ---Focusing on Chinese Social Networking Sites • 4012R335-5 • Zhang Hairong
    2. 2. Outline I. Introduction II. Literature Review III. Research Questions IV. Hypothesis V. Research Methodology VI. Schedule VII.References
    3. 3. I. Introduction Nowadays, the phenomenon of online social networking sites (SNSs) has been consistently growing in popularity. Social networking sites are virtual places that cater to a specific population in which people of similar interest gather to communicate, share, and discuss ideas (John Raacke, Jennifer Bonds Raacke, 2008). As we know, the most popular sites are such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Google Plus and so on. 1.constructing their public or semi-public profiles, 2.interacting with old friends, meeting new friends, 3. giving comments, receiving feedback from others, 4. sharing photos, updating status and etc..
    4. 4. Given the popularity of these sites and their importance in young people’s lives to facilitate communication and relationships, it is important to understand the factors influencing SNS use, especially at higher levels, and to identify those who may be prone to developing addictive tendencies towards new communication technologies (Walsh, White, Young, 2007). Recent evidence suggests that individuals may feel compelled to maintain their online social networks in a way that may, in some circumstances, leading to using SNSs excessively (Griffiths, 2013).
    5. 5. A report from TECHINASIA on Mar. 13, 2013, it’s estimated that 597 million people are active on social media in China. Common functions: liking, sharing, posting, commenting. Resource: http://www.techinasia.com/2013-china-top-10-social-sites-infographic/
    6. 6. Introduction----Research Purpose • This study is constructed under the circumstance of Chinese most popular social networking sites as mentioned above, focusing on young adults who are more likely engaged in SNSs. The purpose is to: • explore addictive tendencies of using SNSs among Chinese young adults, • examine whether they have psychological dependence on SNSs • analyze the correlation between these specific activities and addictive tendencies. Since there are few researches related with SNS addiction in China, this study may provide a general comprehension of SNS addiction for users and researchers who are concerned with this issue, and also try to draw much more attention on this phenomenon in China and make some suggestions to SNSs users if possible.
    7. 7. II. Literature Review • Social networking sites are egocentric sites, which is the individual rather than the community that is the focus of attention (Boyd, Ellison, 2008). People spent hours chatting with their friends and browsing profiles on social networking sites. It becomes a compulsive habit to visit own profile several times in a day for checking friends’ updates, changing status and commenting on others’ photos and videos. Because of the numerous benefits of SNSs, along with the ubiquitous environment, once users start using an SNS, they cannot help but increase their usage and develop an obsession with the SNS (Heijden, 2004). It’s argued that there are five different types of internet addiction, namely computer addiction (i.e., computer game addiction), information overload (i.e., web surfing addiction), net compulsions (i.e., online gambling or online shopping addiction), cyber-sexual addiction (i.e., online pornography or online sex addiction), and cyber-relationship addiction(i.e.,an addiction to online relationships)(Young, 1999). SNS addiction appears to fall in the last category since the purpose and main motivation to use SNSs is to establish and maintain both on- and offline relationships (Kuss, Griffiths, 2008).
    8. 8. • A behavioral addiction such as social networking sites addiction may thus be seen from a bio psychosocial perspective. Just like substance-related addictions, it would appear that in some individuals, SNS addiction incorporates the experience of the ‘classic’ addiction symptoms, namely mood modification (i.e., engagement in SNSs leads to a favorable change in emotional states), salience (i.e., behavioral, cognitive, and emotional preoccupation with the SNS usage), tolerance (i.e., ever increasing use of SNSs overtime), withdrawal symptoms (i.e., experiencing unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms when SNS use is restricted or stopped), conflict (i.e., interpersonal and intrapsychic problems ensue because of SNS usage), and relapse (i.e., addicts quickly revert back in their excessive SNS usage after an abstinence period) (Griffiths: 2005, 191-197). • So far, there are several studies on SNS addiction and psychological predictors. However, compared to other forms of Internet addiction such as cyber sexual addiction, addiction to SNSs does not command sufficient research concerns. Little is known about the risks of the addiction, nor about the protective factors that could guard against this specific form of addiction (Wu, Cheung, Ku, HUNG, 2013). Scholars have hypothesized that young vulnerable people with narcissistic tendencies are particularly prone to engaging with SNSs in an addictive way (La Barbera et al, 2009, 12:628- 629).
    9. 9. A study found that extroverted and unconscientious individuals reported higher levels of both SNS use and addictive tendencies, suggesting that extroverts may become overly reliant on SNSs because interactive experience meets their need for stimulation and social interaction (Wilson, Fornasier, 2010). Griffiths points out, the structural characteristics of particular activities are responsible for reinforcement, may satisfy user’s needs, and may actually facilitate excessiveness (Griffiths,1993). He also speculated that the structural and design characteristics of a website seem to be particularly addictive. For example, an interactive experience can satisfy the user’s personal needs and therefore reinforce the behavior (Griffiths,1998). Besides, attitude and subjective norm significantly predicted intentions to engage in high- level Social Networking Websites (SNWs) use with intention significantly predicting behavior. Self-identity and belongingness significantly predicted addictive tendencies toward SNWs, which suggests that users who looked for a sense of belongingness on SNWs might be at risk for developing an addiction towards SNWs(Pelling, White, 2009, 12, 755-759).
    10. 10. The findings of another study revealed that those who spent more time on SNSs also reported higher addictive tendencies, which positively correlated with both favorable outcome expectancies and high impulsivity, but negatively associated with low Internet self-efficiency. Compared to demographics, psychological factors provide a better account for addictive tendencies towards SNSs among Chinese smartphone users in Macau (Wu, Cheung, Ku, Hung, 2013). Also, SNSs mainly used for social purposes, most of which are related to the maintenance of established offline networks, relative to individual ones. Staying connected is beneficial to those people, as the user’s expectations of connectivity are met through their SNS usage, the potential for developing SNS addiction may increase as a consequence (Kuss, Griffiths, 2011, 8: 3528-3552). There is a case study on one of most popular campus-SNS site in China named Xiaonei.com. The study investigated the relationship between perceived gratifications, loneliness and addictive usage of campus-SNS websites. The results showed that campus-SNS addicts tend to be female, young and have used campus-SNS websites for a relatively long time and frequently visit the homepage of others, Loneliness was found to be a significant predictor for the campus-SNS website addiction, meanwhile, social activities and relationship building were found to predict SNS addiction(Wan, 2009).
    11. 11. Another study concerned with SNS game addiction, which was conducted among Chinese college students in Hongkong. It is also a study of specific SNS game called Happy Farm. The author found that there was a weak positive correlation between loneliness and SNS game addiction and a moderate positive correlation between leisure boredom and SNS game addiction. Then the gratification“inclusion”(in a social group)and “achievement” (in game), leisure boredom and male gender significantly predicted SNS game addiction(Zhou, 2010).
    12. 12. III. Research Questions • What are the correlations between specific activities occurred on SNSs and addictive tendencies?” • Do young adults have perception about addiction of SNSs? • Do young adults have psychological dependence on these SNSs? • What specific activities are young adults addicted to when using SNSs? •
    13. 13. IV. Hypothesis • Through SNSs, users usually expect to acquire the satisfaction of interpersonal relatedness via sharing their immediate thoughts and feelings like other kinds of internet addiction, their visits to SNSs would be reinforced by positive outcomes through operant conditioning, and gradually an addiction towards these sites might be developed (Chakraborty et.al, 2010). • It seemed that especially in the case of social networking, users become overly concerned about their image. Today it is not only about a very specific selection of photos; it’s all about the response that would be obtained after placing a piece of information on the profile (Moreno et al, 2011). • Based on the above studies, H1 and H2 are derived as follows, • H1: The more response/comments the users received from their posting, the more addicted to SNSs they will become. • It was argued that in terms of the internet addiction sub-types developed by Young(1999) that social networking addiction was a type of cyber-relationship addiction and people are addicted to the rewards gained from interacting with people within their friendship networks (Kuss and Griffiths, 2011a). • H2: The more interaction the users have on virtual communication, the more addicted to SNSs they will become.
    14. 14. V. Methodology • Quantitative research • Online survey? • Paper-based survey • Demographic data: • Age, Gender, School year Specific activities on SNSs • Time spending on SNSs • Frequency of updating status and posting on SNSs • The survey main contents • There are so many social networking sites in China, this study will mainly focus on the top four social networking sites in China: Tencent QZone, Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo and WeChat. There are few researches on these four SNSs; based on the research of Internet addiction and related researches concerned with excessive use of SNSs, the study will create a descriptive survey consisted of mainly three sections. • The first section will be demographic data about the target group-Chinese young adults; • The second section will be question about their usage of SNSs and perception of addiction towards these SNSs; • The third section will be specific questions related to components of behavioral addiction, which are pointed by Griffiths to determine behavioral addiction. • Six components as we mentioned above are: mood modification, salience, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, and relapse. • Since the target group is Chinese young adults, the survey will be conducted in Chinese and distributed to selected universities in China.
    15. 15. VI. Thesis Schedule Jan. 16---April.4 Submission of Research Proposal. April. 5---April.22 Design and Revise of Questionnaire. April.22---April.30 Distribution of Survey and Collection Writting of Literature Review May.1---May.10 Data Analysis and writing of Methodology part May 11---June 21 Thesis Writting
    16. 16. • Anise M.S. Wu, Vivi I. Cheung, Lisbeth Ku, EVA. P.W Hung.(2013). Psychological risk factors of addiction to social networking sites among Chinese Smartphone Users. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 2(3): pp. 160-166. • Boyd, D,M., Ellison, N.B.(2008). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. J. Computer-Mediated Communication, 13: 210-230. • Candy, Wan.(2009). Gratification & Loneliness as predictors of campus-SNS websites addiction & usage pattern among Chinese college students, a graduation project, in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. • Chakraborty, K., Basu, D., Kumar, K.G.V.(2010). Internet addiction: Consensus, controversies, and the way ahead. East Asian Archives of Psychiatry, 20: pp123-132. • Daria J. Kuss, Mark D. Griffiths(2011). Online Social Networking and Addiction—A Review of the Psychological Literature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8: pp.3528-3552. • Griffiths, MD.(2005). A ‘components’ model of addiction within a bio psychosocial framework. Journal of Substance Use, 10(4): pp.191-197. • VII. References
    17. 17. • Griffiths MD.(2013). Social networking addiction: Emerging themes and issues. Addiction Research &Therapy, 4:5 • Hatice Odaci. et. al.(2013). Who are problematic internet users? An investigation of the correlations between problematic internet use and shyness, loneliness, narcissism, aggression and self-perception. Comupters in Human Behavior 29: pp. 2382-2387. • Heijden, H.(2004). User acceptance of hedonic information systems. MIS Quarterly, 28(4): pp. 695-704. • .Inwon Kang, Mathew M. Shin, Chnuk Par.(2013). Internet addiction as a manageable resource: a focus on social network services. Online Information Review. 37(1): pp. 28-41. • John Raacke, Jennifer Bonds-Raacke.(2008). My Space and Facebook: Applying the Uses and Gratification Theory to Exploring Friend-Networking Sites. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11(2): pp.169- 174.
    18. 18. • Kathryn Wilson, et al.(2010). Psychological predictors of young adults’ use of social networking sites. CyberPsychology, behavior, and social networking. 13(2): pp. 173-177. • Louis Lwung, Paul S.N, Lee.(2012). Impact of internet literacy, internet addiction symptoms, and internet activities on Academic performance, Social Science Computer Review 2012, 30, originally published online, February 13. • TECHINASIA report.(2013). Check Out the Numbers on China’s Top 10 Social Media Sites (Infographic) http://www.techinasia.com/2013-china-top-10-social-sites- infographic/ • Walsh, S.P., White, K.M., Young, R.M.(2007). Young and connected: Psychological influences of mobile phone use amongst Australian youth. In: Goggin G, Hjorth L, eds. Mobile Media, Proceedings of an International Conference on Social and Cultural Aspects of Mobile phones, Media, and Wireless Technologies, Sydney: University of Sydney, pp.125-134
    19. 19. • Young, K.(1996). Internet addiction: the emergence of a new clinical disorder. CyberPsychology, behavior, and social networking. 1(3): pp.237-244. Paper presented Paper presented at the 104th annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada, August 15. • Young, K.(1999). Internet addiction: Evaluation and treatment. Student Brit. Med. J., 7: pp. 351-352. • Zhou, S.X.(2010). Gratifications, loneliness, leisure boredom and self-esteem as predictors of SNS-game addiction and usage pattern among Chinese college students. International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning. 2(4). • 刘振声(2013). 社交媒体依赖与媒介需求研究-以大学生微 博依赖为例. 新闻大学Journalism Bimonthly. 总第117 期,2013第一期.