How does empathy relate to social media addiction? Well a study conducted in 2020 looked at the association of empathy and social media addiction amongst high school students. They also looked at another hypothesis (which is not discussed here).
Empathy was defined as “the skill to comprehend and share other’s emotions and feelings”. The authors acknowledged that empathy has both a cognitive component (i.e. understanding another person’s emotions) and an affective component (i.e. the ability to feel how others feel). In the study, they measured empathy by measuring Perspective Taking (PT) (the cognitive component) and Empathic Concern (EC) (the affective component) through the use of a questionnaire. Social media addiction was also measured using a standardized questionnaire.
The authors’ found that EC and PT were both negatively correlated with social media. They suggested that students who rated higher on EC and PT were better able to form relationships and thus have more fulfilling and desirable relationships offline. They
also suggested that these students' offline relationships were meeting their needs of belonging and need for affiliation. As a result, they have a lower need to seek out these relationships online and were less likely to get addicted to social media.
I am curious to see what you think.
Do you think these are reasonable assumptions to be made about the relationship between empathy and social media addiction? Are there other factors that could be causing this relationship between empathy and social media addiction?
Let me know in the comment section below.
Dalvi-Esfahani, M., Niknafs, A., Alaedini, Z., Ahmadabadi, H. B., Kuss, D. J., & Ramayah, T. (2021). Social Media Addiction and Empathy: Moderating impact of personality traits among high school students. Telematics and Informatics, 57, 101516.