Facebook addiction could be in your genes, study suggests

Research based on study of twins

Facebook addicts may be genetically programmed to love social media, a major new study has claimed. Scientists at King’s College London compared the internet habits of around 4,250 identical twins with around 4,250 non-identical twins. They found genes were responsible up to 39 percent of the time spent online. Experts claim this shows the media is not simply an external entity luring in and entrapping ‘helpless’ consumers. Rather, certain people naturally crave it. A major study has found 39% of media consumption is driven by genetic predisposition ‘The key component of this gene-environment correlation is choice,’ said Professor Robert Plomin, senior author from the IoPPN at King’s College London. ‘Such that individuals are not simply passive recipients of their environment but instead actively select their experiences and these selections are correlated with their genetic propensities.’ The paper, the first to find a solid link between social media habits and genes, was based on data on 8,500 16-year-old twins from the Twins Early Development Study in the UK. They deliberately compared identical twins (who share 100 percent of their genes) and non-identical twins (who share 50 percent of their genes). As such, the researchers were able to estimate the relative contribution of genes and environment on individualdifferences in engagement with a range of online media. This included games for entertainment and education, as well as time spent on chat rooms, instant messaging platforms and Facebook.

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