Instagram Addiction

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The prevalence of the use of Instagram as an online photo and messaging application, especially among the youth and older generations, has generated research interests and questions regarding the effect it could have on the mental health and wellbeing of individuals (Kircaburun et al., 2018). The research delves into the impact of Instagram addiction on the productivity of individuals both in the workplace and at school. The research adopted a cross-sectional study where participants were interviewed. The criterion sampling method was chosen for the analysis given the qualitative nature of the study. Additionally, the research required information-rich data which demanded the exhaustion of relevant subjects. A high percentage of the participants in the study revealed that Instagram usage led to addiction. The study deduces that the addiction to Instagram leads to a significant decline in the level of performance and in productivity in different spheres of life, especially work places.

Key Words:

Social Media, Addiction, Productivity, Instagram, Internet.

Why Instagram is Addictive and Does it Affect Productivity?


There has been a widespread use of social media since the beginning of the 21st century. Innovation and inventions in the field have seen the culmination of social media into a tool for entertainment, in addition to its transformation into a marketing platform (Kircaburun et al., 2018). The various uses of social media have led to the widespread adoption of the platforms by diverse demographics (Kircaburun, 2018). Marketers and advertisers have incorporated social media use in their advertisement strategies, given the number of users found online at in the contemporary world (People Matters, n.d).

Despite the feat the social media has achieved as a technology for its adoption and subsequent integration into the fabric of society, most people analyze its impact on society (Brazill-Murray et al., 2018). It is important to note that many advantages have accrued to society as a result of social media. Social media and social networking instill the feeling of belonging to a community by members of the society (Brazill-Murray et al., 2018). However, too much time spent on frequent visits to social media sites has resulted in the loss of crucial time and effort that could have been used to accomplish other constructive tasks (Smith, 2017). When individuals perpetually spend too much time on their social networking websites and messaging applications, they are likely to be perceived as addicts (Balta et al., 2018).

Social media addiction has proven to be a new pandemic among the youth worldwide. Many employers have often reported that employees waste valuable time on their gadgets at the expense of their duties (Vaghefi et al., 2013). Additionally, research suggests that students have recorded dismal performance in tasks that they are assigned to (Vaghefi et al., 2013).

Behavior that demonstrates social media addiction includes the frequent checking of social media applications and websites or for notifications (Current Consulting, 2017). It entails such tendencies as stalking other individuals’ profiles and using the engaging features offered by the social media applications such as posting of live videos and engaging ‘followers’ in chats and comments (Kontra agency, 2018). Owing to the significant drop in the levels of productivity, it has been of interest to research the link between frequent indulgence in these online activities and the level of productivity on a societal scale.

Purpose of the Study

The research intends to scrutinize the notion that the excessive use of Instagram leads to the addiction that potentially lowers the level of productivity in work places. Additionally, it intends to demonstrate how the constant worry about social media and the actual use of gadgets results in a reduction in the productive capacity.

Aims and Objectives of the Study

The study intends to establish what the developers of Instagram do to make the online platform addictive among the youth. Additionally, this paper scrutinizes the psychology behind the concept of addiction to social media and the internet in general. The paper intends to establish whether a relationship exists between the advent and prevalence of Instagram and the productivity of individuals. The study will achieve this by the application of a qualitative study, which will entail an online survey of participants. The research will use a phenomenological approach to collect and analyze the data that will give vital information about the prevalence of Instagram addiction and its effects.

Research question

The study intends to make an inquiry into the detrimental nature of social media platforms, with the focus on Instagram and individual productivity, especially in work environments.


The research aims to prove the claim that Instagram is indeed addictive, and that this addiction has an effect on the productivity of an individual.

Literature Review

Delving into the pandemic that is the social media addiction, Kuss et al. (2011) conducted a research that looks into the psychology behind the addiction to Instagram and other social networking sites. The study reveals that the exposure and onset on the use of Instagram and similar applications among some users may be the beginning of a mental problem for some of them (Kuss, 2011). However, the research fails to ela[BM1] borate on the mental impulses towards social media addiction. The study through a literature review [BM2] offers an in-depth analysis of social media addiction among users by focusing on usage patterns among individuals in addition to looking into the motivation for social media tools use. Furthermore, the research similar to other literature on the subject area investigates the negative effects that would accrue as a result of social media use and addiction. Nusayba (2014) also elaborates on the psychological and clinical analysis of dependence to social media by pinning it on an impulse-control disorder.[BM3] According to him, the disorder is manifested when an individual fails to resist temptations to constantly use social media. Social media, according to the article, addicts an individual through attraction [BM4] to cognitive content as well as emotional and behavioral alterations. The nature of the cross-sectional investigation offers information on the psychological link between excessive use of social media and productivity at work. Productivity levels begin to drop significantly once individuals fail to practice responsibility in their use of social media (Young et al., 2013).

According to contemporary research, the current and subsequent generations are the most vulnerable to the negative effects of irresponsible social media use on productivity. [BM5] For instance, Bolton et al. (2012) researched [BM6] the effect of the use of social media on the psychological development of the members of the generations, especially pertaining to the ability to be productive. According to Bolton’s research, [BM7] over-indulgence in social media has detrimental effects on the levels of productivity of the members of this generation. The paper analyses the dynamic, endogenous factors as well as individual factors that are driven and controlled by activities such as social media (Bolton, 2012). The adverse effects of habitual social media use on these critical factors could reduce an individual’s efficiency in performing duties(Moqbel et al. 2018).

Research conducted by Wu (2013) dwells on the effects of the widespread use of social networking sites on productivity and job security of individuals. The validity of this research is based on the actual adoption of such a tool at an office to analyze the effects of Instagram use on the productivity of individuals [BM8] (Wu, 2013). There are advantages that would accrue to an organization that adopts social media in the communication between employees and teammates[BM9] . Wu (2013) explains that social media offers information diversity and social communication to individuals and organizations as vital aspects of communication. [BM10] Given the essential nature [BM11] of information symmetry in a competitive business and work environment, information diversity positively impacts the performance of employees (Moqbel et al. 2018). Additionally, social networks and communication enhance the job security of individuals thereby providing incentives to work.

Comprehension of the effect of social media addiction among individuals’ productivity is also highly dependent on the understanding of the specific health effects that social media addiction has, regardless of age. Donelly (2016) establishes six core components that are associated with addiction to SNS. The components encompass tolerance, mood modification, feelings during use, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, relapse, and excessive preoccupation with social media (Vaghefi et al., 2013).

There also exists a direct relationship between Instagram use and the mental wellbeing among frequent visitors to the SNS [BM12] (Aral et al., 2013). Apart from direct effects on individual productivity, prolonged social media use also affects the quality of sleep on a daily basis(Aral et al., 2013). The minimum sleep requirement hours are often not met by individuals who spend too much of their time on social media sites. Sleep allows for enough rest which is vital for optimum mental health and productivity (Kırcaburun et al., 2018). The revelations of this research could be tied to the prevalent notions suggesting poor performance and productivity by individuals who spend too much time attending to their social media.

Social media addiction also has an effect on academic productivity. Nusayba (2014) investigated the use of social media as a predictor of academic performance. The author asserts that the use of the internet is one of the factors determining the education performance of individuals. Additionally, the virtual and enticing nature of social media increases the affinity for addiction among its users. [BM13]

Research Methodology


The study adopts a qualitative approach, which applies the use of a survey through phenomenological methods to collect and analyze data. The research uses a cross-sectional study. During the research, an online survey was carried out to investigate the prevalence of the use of the social media tool Instagram among students and workers. The study dwelt on the rates of addiction to Instagram among the participants. Addiction was measured by focusing on; the mood modifications of individuals caused by being on Instagram, the amount of time spent on Instagram, the level of distraction it causes to the individuals (Song et al., 2018). The study also analysed the urge among individuals to use Instagram during productive hours in addition to the withdrawal effects of denied use of social media platforms (Song et al., 2018). An online survey tool was used due to the level of efficacy associated with the tool (Appendix).[BM14]


The criterion sampling method chosen for the research. The method was primarily defined by the fact that there is lack of adequate theoretical and empirical literature that defines the problem of social media addiction (Palys, 2008). The criterion chosen for the election of the sample was based on the achievement of critical factors which encompassed use of the Instagram for over a year. There was a compulsory requirement for the participant to either be a student, or an employee (Palys, 2008). The criterion chosen is crucial since the objectives express the intention to investigate the impact of Instagram addiction on productivity. The reason for this is that the demographic would offer a representation of the entire population. Criterion sampling takes little time and costs less as compared to a population census but still yields valid results. Furthermore, the research participants have to be able to communicate aptly and elaborately, which would be achieved more efficiently through sampling (Palys, 2008).

Criterion sampling reduces the margin of error that would be caused by wide variances associated with other methods (Palys, 2008). The specific nature of the objectives of the study in addition to the need for accuracy and validity demands for this approach. The participants for the study were chosen from an initial pool of 200 Instagram users. The criterion sampling then selected a sample of 100 participants comprising of students and employed individuals with a diverse set of ages. [BM15] This was critical due to the need to establish whether the addiction to social media was specific to a given age group or was synonymous to the whole population regardless of the age of the user (The Wisdom Post, 2018).

Saturation and Phenomenology

The principle of saturation in criterion sampling in addition to the iterative nature of sampling enables the researcher to comprehensively and meticulously exhaust the information that they can acquire from a participant (Palys, 2008). It is crucial to this study for the research to capture all the aspects of the phenomenon for it to offer an informed insight into Instagram addiction and its effect on productivity.

Phenomenology delineates to the subjective analysis of the observations of events and phenomenon. The approach encompasses the study and application of the comprehension of the consciousness of individuals during the observation and recount of an experience. Phenomenology enables the research participant to elaborately define a concept subjectively without influence from the researcher or any other external factors.

Presentation of Results and Discussion

According to the research findings of the survey, 75% of participants revealed that they were mildly addicted to social media use while 25%[BM16] admitted to being strongly addicted to social media. Participant 61 who admitted to being strongly addicted referred to the fact she barely slept at night and spent most of her time browsing her Instagram page for e-commerce websites. A different participant admitted to the fact that she felt the need to check her Instagram page for any notifications or updates every five minutes. The participant regularly checked her phone regardless of whether she did find a notification or not. The findings are synonymous with those of Current Consulting (2017) who revealed that a sign of addiction is individuals regularly check their phones.

Usage of social media, according to the survey, varied among the participants of the study. Some participants admitted to using their social media to socialize and make new acquaintances. Others linked their use of social media to other addictions like shopping regardless of the gender, where SNSs provide the perfect platform for shopping addicts due to the convenience of the services provided by online shopping pages and sites. Researcher 42 was a female employee who admitted that the constant use of Instagram had a detrimental effect on her mental health. The addiction to social media has led to the manifestation of symptoms of depression given the fact that she admitted to constantly comparing herself to her followers and friends on social media.

The study found that the addictive aspect of social media has been on the rise with the availability of cheap internet connectivity installed in homes and work places. Participants in environments with free internet connection reported excessive use of Instagram as compared to those who used mobile data. The indulgence has led to the development of daily habits such as checking social media platforms as the first thing in the morning. Constant use of social media at work and in school distracts individuals from their duties. As a result, procrastination develops as an unconscious habit. As a result, both quantitative and qualitative performance is hindered. Individuals end up with accumulated [BM17] tasks to perform within a short period which as the effect of reducing the motivation levels. A repetition of the scenario results into general reduction in individual performance rated against previous levels of activity.

The survey conducted on the addictive nature of Instagram [BM18] revealed user opinions of pleasing interfaces and efficient user experience. Furthermore, research participants revealed that the quality of graphics offered on the social media page keeps their imagination engaged thereby inducing the need for constant visit and activity on Instagram(Moqbel et al., 2018). One participant expressed the need to constantly increase his social media audience which required constant activity on his Instagram page resulting in addiction.

Moreover, many users admitted to the existence of engagement baits and clicking baits on their social media pages which created an urge to use their social network services. 20% of the participants revealed that they often tried out new features of their social media pages which resulted in them spending more time on their pages. The captivating features of the application induce addiction which adversely affects the productivity of individuals both in school and at work (Boitnott, 2014). 80% of the participants who were employed admitted to a reduction in efficacy at the workplace in addition to failure to meet minor performance targets and deadline. One such participant admitted that she often found herself on her SNS during work hours, even when she was met with strict deadlines and heavy workloads.

Among students, 60% of the research participants admitted that addiction to social media has led to a reduction in grades since the advent of their use of social media. Additionally, 20% of the participants linked social media to depression at school which led to the subsequent academic underperformance among students. One participant admitted that constant use of her phone, mostly on the widespread application Instagram led to truancy and a notable reduction in her attention span in class. Instagram caused a drastic change in her performance, especially in subjects that demanded extra studying time. Participant 52, on the other hand, admitted to have been using Instagram in the morning before all other activities and chores, which led to the constant deprivation of sleep. He admits that the use of Instagram has led to poor concentration in class and a resultant decline in examination scores.

The research revealed Instagram use and addiction was not singularly determined by the age of the users, since the contemporary social media is designed to take advantage of psychological vulnerability of the public regardless of the age. An assessment on the prevalence of social media use among the youth and adults for a disposable time reveals minimal effects of the difference in age. [BM19] Both the youth and adults revealed similar characteristics with regard to the effect of social media on performance.[BM20]

Social media addiction has been linked to neuroticism. The American Psychological Association (2018) describes it as anxiety caused by “the fear of missing out[BM21] .” The disorder has resulted in high levels of stress and depression among the members of the application (Young et al., 2013). Furthermore, the depression among individuals has been blamed for the dismal productivity among individuals who are addicted to Instagram. Users of social media have reported social withdrawal and a decline in interactive communication techniques. As a result, productivity is affected since work environments rely of effective communication among colleague workers and between workers and leaders. Workers addicted to social media feel self-sufficient and despise the need to communicate through traditional means such as direct conversation.

Both the youth, comprising mainly of students and the young working population, and the adults admitted to the detrimental effects that social media has had on their performance. However, deviating from the observations of the majority of participants, a small group of 10 participants admitted to SNSs had a positive effect on their performance at the workplace. It is vital to note that despite this, the participants were involved in occupations which demanded the creation of vast networks among colleagues and the relevant professional field. The participants additionally communicate with teammate and groups of individuals using Instagram given the graphics and images related nature of their occupations.


The research study focused on the achievement of the objectives of the research in addition to proving the null hypothesis and answering the research question. The research question was whether Instagram is addictive and if it has an effect on the productivity of individuals. Through the design of the survey with questions on the prevalence of social media use among participants was instrumental in answering the research questions.

Social media addiction is facilitated by the additional technological instruments added to the widely available devices. Reported connections included the increased development of mobile applications structured to increase access and the time spent by users on social media platforms. Instagram users often find themselves scrolling through photos and short videos without a planned purpose. The practice creates a false illusion of being up to date with social and current affairs (The Wisdom Post, 2018). However, the indulgence builds an unintentional taste for the use of Instagram. Other features include pop-up notifications that constantly make individuals check on their online media accounts throughout the day regardless of the environment and commitments.

The results point to the prevalence of Instagram addiction by both the working population and students. The addiction to Instagram encompasses a wide range of indicators all which are vital in the determination of whether an individual is addicted or not. The results point to the link between the high levels of addiction to Instagram with other addictions for instance shopping which is enhanced by Instagram. Additionally, the detrimental effects of addiction to Instagram are also indicated by the dismal performance by students after an introduction to the applications (Kuss et al, 2011). Even though some students deny the manifestation of adverse effects of Instagram addiction, most indicate that the use of the application has negatively affected their performance in school.

Contrary to revelations by most participants, a group of participants indicated that they have benefited from the use of Instagram[BM22] Students defended this claim based on the motivational videos and quotes they encounter on the platform while employees cited using the platform to promote their small businesses. However, given that they are addicted to the application means that they are subject to a myriad of negative effects that arise as a result of the use of Instagram (Current Consulting, 2017). Additionally, the advantages that accrue seem occupation related which raises questions as to the real effects of the addiction.


The study has shown that the SNS, Instagram, is addictive to many of its users regardless of age. Additionally, the research shows that most individuals rely on the use of social media for a myriad of reasons including entertainment, e-commerce, and shopping in addition to the most basic function, socializing. The various uses of the Instagram among its users offer the individuals with a wide array of options to keep them occupied and therefore leading to extensive use of social media (Widyanto et al., 2004). Additionally, the user interface and the tools and functions of the application play a significant role in the establishment of patterns of addiction among the users.

As can be deduced from the study, addiction to social media could lead to depression among users of social media. Students have experienced a reduction in quality of grades attained at school due to depression, anxiety and lack of enough rest, all which are factors that are induced by spending too much time on social networking sites. Additionally, Instagram users develop a craving for satisfaction that they can only acquire from social media. Such includes the admiration of the illusive false impressions of the lifestyles displayed on Instagram.

Among employees, social media has significantly affected the quality of work and the performance of individuals at the workplace (Vaghefi, 2013). According to research findings, the failure to meet performance targets can be attributed to a reduction in productivity of workers who are addicted to Instagram (Brown, 2018). However, some workers have suggested that the addiction to Instagram and other social networking sites has led to an increase in efficiency and productivity in the workplace. Regardless, this is true only for a restricted number of occupations that require constant communication in addition to relying on the application to generate revenues, or as a marketing platform for markets and goods. Mitigating the effects of Instagram and other social media platforms on productivity would therefore involve management of the triggers that lead to indulgence into the constant visit to the platforms.


In regard to the effect of Instagram on individual productivity, the survey posed such questions as follows:

a) How much engagement into social media can be considered detrimental to an individual’s productivity at work?

b) What leads to social media addiction with focus on Instagram?

c) Does the effect of social media on social interaction affect work productivity?

d) What suggestions can be given to control social media addiction in the next generations?

e) What is the future anticipation on the relations between Instagram addiction and work productivity?

f) Can the effects of social media on productivity be generalized on all cases of poor productivity at work?

g) Are there additional factors trigger social media use and can these be mitigated at an earlier stage?

h) What is the public reaction on the effects of Instagram on their productivity and does it match theoretical frameworks?

i) How does the level of productivity compare between the present generation and previous generations with regard to the significant differences in the levels of technology?


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[BM1]Doesn’t make sense – this author was not mentioned previously, what are you trying to say? Provide a proper transition


[BM3]elaborate this point

[BM4]structure, repetitions

[BM5]Vague again

[BM6]No transition between ideas of the research; you must compare and contrast



[BM9]which? redundant




[BM13]literature review is not simply summarizing every research done on the topic; you present ideas that will prove your hypothesis, that are linked directly to it, and not state that something but unclear what exactly was described

[BM14]mention your appendix

[BM15]no exact criteria given for this narrowing down as most users are students and employed individuals with diverse set of ages; unclear how you narrowed down

[BM16]numbers don’t add up

[BM17]Awkward, structure






January 19, 2024

Health Psychology


Addiction Illness Behavior

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