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How online addiction works

The process starts with a cue or stimulus. That’s an external trigger. It’s most effective if it arrives when the target is feeling some kind of discomfort (which Eyal calls an internal trigger), from which it can promise relief—like a Facebook message that happens to arrive in your inbox just when you’re feeling alone. “The more times users go through the Hook, the more the product forms an association with internal triggers like loneliness, boredom, or fear,” Eyal explains. “When we’re lonely, we turn to Facebook. When we’re feeling out of the loop, we turn to Twitter.
From a very helpful piece in How Facebook and Candy Crush Got You Hooked The main lesson appears to be that online addiction is not accidental, it is deliberate inbuilt into the programme. Whilst this should not necessary stop us from using these platforms it should make us more vigilant how we use them. This is especially so since unlike alcohol or cigarettes there is no warning labels.

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2015

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