Like health care providers deal with smoking or alcoholism cases, internet addiction needs the same approach to help online hookers cut their time on social media, researchers report.
To address this, a team of researchers has developed a framework using a theory known as cognitive dissonance which is the discomfort felt by those whose actions conflict with their beliefs.
Isaac Vaghefi, Assistant Professor from Binghamton University and Hamed Qahri-Saremi, Assistant Professor at DePaul University, developed a model showing that the degree of users' cognitive dissonance can make a difference in their willingness to quit online addiction.
"Dissonance is what we need to work on and what we need to help increase for users to make sure that they will do some action to limit their control," said Vaghefi.
Vaghefi tested the model on data collected from 226 students at Binghamton University who said how much they were intending to either stop or continue their usage of social networking sites.
The findings show that a plausible way to help individuals to reduce or quit usage is to increase their cognitive dissonance.
Making users aware of their addiction, in particular the consequences on personal, social, and academic lives caused by addiction, increases their cognitive dissonance about their behaviour.
"People have already looked at the role of guilt in regard to technology use and how we can change it," noted Vaghefi.
It's through cognitive dissonance that a negative emotional state of mind that, once created, can actually have an impact on the actual behaviour and intention of people to stop or discontinue their usage habit.
"Once people see those negative consequences, they will act on them and will be motivated to exert self-control," said Vaghefi who presented the paper at the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences recently.