Good morning dear readers of Tecnogalaxy, today we will talk about the various reasons why people waste a lot of time on TikTok.

Any TikTok user will tell you that time passes faster while using it. A video becomes five, becomes ten, become countless as the boredom fades away. The more time you spend on TikTok, the more disturbing it seems to accurately predict what you want to look at next.

TikTok, like the social media platforms that preceded it, can be so inspiring that users start experiencing something like addiction. Some have had to delete the app altogether to get over their habit.

According to researchers specializing in the psychology of perception of time, being on social media can alter our ability to conceive time. This can have far-reaching implications, such as having a reduced ability to concentrate or influence one’s social life. There is a simple solution, scientists said: the only problem is that it depends on an individual’s ability to recognize the problem, combat its denial and implement the controls alone.

WHY DOES TIKTOK MAKE IT SEEM THAT TIME IS ACCELERATING?

Lazaros Gonidis and Dinkar Sharma, researchers at the University of Kent’s School of Psychology, looked at how people perceive time spent on Facebook in 2017. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology they found that, in general, people underestimated time.

“We browse the videos one after another one after another,” said Gonidis. “And then, without realizing it, we spent an hour or two instead of spending 10 minutes.”

Gonidis also studies the perception of time in relation to gambling and Internet gambling. What all these things have in common, he said, is that people can use them to escape reality. There is nothing wrong with this in theory, but when something is incredibly fun, and there is no limit to our use, we spend more and more time without realizing it.

By comparison, if someone plays football for an hour each week, Gonidis said, his brain becomes good enough to estimate that duration and will send signals to indicate fatigue and that the game is about to end. With TikTok, people rarely enact these kinds of boundaries. When they start using the app for the first time, they can watch five videos, but over time, those five videos will no longer be enough to get the same amount of dopamine.

Adults can counteract these compulsions with the responsibilities of their day. They can’t spend 12 hours a day on TikTok because they have to go to work and do their homework. A child or teenager is not so careful about his time, so he may be much more susceptible to scrolling through the whole day. Studies are already showing that addiction-like behaviors are closely linked to worse performance at school and university.

OUR SOCIAL MEDIA HABITS MAY HAVE PARALLELS WITH ADDICTION

Ofir Turel, professor of information systems management at the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne, specializing in the psychology of technology users, said that in many addictive behaviors, people lose track of time because there is a difference between physical time and what is known as “cognitive time”.

For example, a smoker who is trying to quit will perceive how much time has passed since the last cigarette as longer than it actually is. This is due to two processes in the brain: excitement and attention. Excitement indicates how excited we are by an activity and attention indicates how much we can count units of time as we do it.

WHAT USERS CAN DO TO CONTROL THEIR NEED TO GO ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media companies should take some responsibility in the role they play in convincing people to spend more and more time on their platforms, said Gonidis, but the reality is that most companies “will avoid taking any action as long as possible”.

In Turel’s research, his team found that if a group of social media users were shown time spent on certain apps, they reduced their usage the following week. What it shows, he said, is that people are generally shocked by their usage and become aware once they have actually addressed their behavior.

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