6.3m Jordanians are social media users, most to the point of addiction

Experts argue that few users are aware of the risks being hooked to social media can pose to individuals and society. (Photo: Tribune News Service)
AMMAN — There were 6.3 million social media users in Jordan in January 2021. The number of social media users in the Kingdom increased by 600,000 (or 11 percent) between 2020 and 2021, which was equivalent to 61.5 percent of the total population in January 2021.اضافة اعلان

These figures are provided to Datareportal.com.

According to statcounter.com, 85 percent of those who use social media in Jordan use Facebook, while 2.1 percent use Twitter, a little more than 2 percent use YouTube, and only 1.7 percent use Instagram.

Experts argue that few users are aware of the risks being hooked to social media can pose to individuals and society.

Hussein Al-Khozahe, professor of sociology, told Jordan News that Jordanian youth between the ages of 18 and 35 make up the largest segment of social media users. The reason, he said, is the high unemployment rate among the youth.

Khozahe said that most Jordanians use smartphones and various social media platforms for longer than five hours, which qualifies as an addiction.

“This kind of use, of course, affected in-person communication. Social media impacted all social relationships; they became virtual relationships, except within the immediate family, not the extended family, so there is complete reliance on social media platforms in Jordan,” Khozahe said.

This phenomenon could be attributed to two other main reasons, besides the high unemployment rates: most Jordanian families use social media groups to stay connected with extended family and friends; Jordanians remain connected to the one million Jordanian expatriates through various platforms, he said.

Doctor of Human Engineering and Digital Humanities Specialist Rula Bazadough told Jordan News that besides all the benefits one could enjoy from social media, it has a darker side that can impact individuals and society. Social media could often harm mental health and inner peace by causing depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and even pushing people to the point of committing suicide or murder, she said.

“Social media have the upper hand on people in this era, so what it says or implies people will do subconsciously. They will obey without thinking in most cases. So it means that social media are dangerous and risky to our behavior,” Bazadough said.

She agrees that many Jordanians are addicted, and that social media use may create a negative, self-perpetuating cycle. It can also isolate people from their present situations and the people around them.

“Often use of social media increases FOMO (fear of missing out) and feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction, which makes such use an addiction,” Bazadough added.

Social media addiction can also affect people’s lifestyle through “unplanned distractions at school or work, spending more time on social media platforms than with real people, making unfavorable comparisons with others, facing cyberbullying, engaging in risky behavior to gain more shares and likes, and generating sleep and eating disorders,” Bazadough explained.

Social media awareness campaigns, mental health awareness, and therapy, as individuals and as a society, are the only way to help Jordanians face this “big challenge”, Bazadough said.

She said that Jordanians should take notice of their mood and behavior after using social media platforms, track how much time they spend on social media platforms each day, try to reduce it to 30 minutes, read or watch a movie before bedtime instead of using smartphones in bed, and limit social media apps notifications.

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