6 Signs You're Clinically Addicted to Facebook
While recent studies have quantified Facebook’s capacity for addiction, I don’t really think the results came as a surprise to most of us. Even those friends that had previously resisted Facebook, then started out vowing they’d “just use here and there. Maybe only a few minutes a day or I’ll just a check in once a week.” are now multi-visit, daily users!
The real “danger” of Facebook is the serotonin boost social recognition gives us.
As social animals, our need for peer connection and acceptance and our yearning to move up in social ranking has been a part of us since we came into being. Facebook feeds into all of these basic human desires and it does it with minimal effort or social risk required. We need only post a photo or share a one sentence story to receive the encouragement of 10 or more people. Consider - when in our real lives do we EVER hear from 10 different people that they like something we did, said or shared? Even if ten people did appreciate some thing about us, we’d be lucky to hear a compliment from just one!
With every “like” or comment a Facebook users gets, a little serotonin is being released. They're getting a little natural high. It feels good! And further? We want more! If this sounds a lot like the start of a drug addiction to you, you’re not far off. While Facebook doesn’t have the harmful side effects of recreational drugs and even for the most avid of Facebook user, I don’t believe “withdrawal” would have much of a physical side effect, Facebook use CAN be an addiction. But how can you tell when you’ve crossed the line from healthy to unhealthy Facebook usage?
The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale
Norwegian psychologists have now developed the “Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale.” Though scales have been created to evaluate overall internet addiction, this is first official measure of social network addiction in specific. It includes 6 basic criteria scored on a 1-5 scale where 1 = very rarely, 2= rarely, 3=sometimes, 4=often and 5=very often.
Ready to take the test?
#1. You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning to use Facebook.
#2. You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
#3. You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
#4. You have tried to cut down on your use of Facebook without success.
#5. You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
#6. You use Facebook so much that is has a negative impact on your job, studies or relationships.
If you answered “Often” or “Very Often” to 4 or more these statements, studies show you may have a clinically diagnosable addiction to Facebook and may benefit from professional help.
My Take on Facebook
Personally, I know several people that have avoided Facebook for fear of this very thing. They see how it affect their friends. They're annoyed by how important activities on that virtual community seem to be to them.
I also know a few people that after deciding their level of Facebook use was unhealthy, deleted their accounts completely. They felt they were wasting too much time on it. It was interfering with their ability to get work done. I can't say that I don't understand that.
Still, I personally keep a Facebook account and enjoy the interaction and opportunities it provides. For example - just a few weeks ago I reconnected with my first real best friend - the little boy from across the street. We laughed about the trouble we used to get into throughout our elementary years - the time I tried to sneak him in through my living room window, the time we both rolled in the tar used to coat the walls of a house being built on our street, the time we walked through (and ruined) an entire street's freshly poured sidewalk, how he helped me pull out my first tooth, how we collected and sold toads we found to other neighborhood kids. (Yeah, we were pretty wild.)
Seeing that he moved away in middle school and we had lost touch since then, I don't think that conversation ever would have happened if it hadn't been for Facebook! I have kept in touch with people, I probably wouldn't have if I had to call or visit. I have even met some very interesting people for the first time there. Further, as a writer, Facebook provides me with a great way to share my work. Though I have to admit with Facebook a part of my work responsibilities, it can be a definite distraction and sometimes I just need to make the decision NOT to open it until a certain time, I feel my Facebook is within the healthy range of things.
Moral of the story - it's not all bad there. If you like Facebook, good! Enjoy it. Just use moderation.
(and check out these related blogs I wrote below)
The 7 most common and most repelling crimes committed on Facebook.
Come on. We all knew this was only a matter of time.