LIFESTYLE

Your Genes Could Be Responsible For Your Social Media Obsession

Thanks mum and dad.

03/05/2017 12:30 SAST | Updated 03/05/2017 12:30 SAST

Next time your parents tell you off for scrolling through Facebook during dinner, you might want to remind them it is actually their fault.  

This is after a new study revealed that the extent of our obsession with social media could actually be written in our genes, rather than just being a product of our complete lack of willpower. 

Todor Tsvetkov via Getty Images

The study, by Kent State University, looked at sets of twins and found that genetics hugely outweighed environmental factors in their social media usage. 

Researcher Chance York, who is presenting his findings at the 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association in San Diego, found that (a rather large) two thirds of our social media use is attributable to genetic traits.

While unique and shared environmental factors account for the remainder of the variance. 

Past research has repeatedly shown that genetics influence the way we communicate with other people, but this paper goes further to show that these traits also affect our online behaviours not just face to face.

Having said that, York reiterated that there is no “social media gene” present in humans that can be isolated. 

Instead he said: “We are still working in a ‘black box’ in that we can’t directly observe how genes impact our neuroanatomy, which in turn impacts cognitive processing, personality, and subsequent media selection and effects.

“However, this study―and this line of inquiry―is a starting point for studying genetic influence on communication.” 

Recent studies have also shown that not only is our DNA responsible for how we interact with each other, but it can also be partly to blame for loneliness too. 

American researchers found that the tendency to feel left out, isolated and lacking companionship over a lifetime is between 14-27% genetic.

The researchers also found that people who inherit loneliness tend to inherit neuroticism - a long-term negative emotional state.

Mum and dad, you’ve got a lot to answer for. 

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