Are you addicted to Facebook? How much is too much?
With 901 million Facebook users worldwide (as of March 2012), 398 million are active on the social media platform at least six out of seven days. Many of us use Facebook (even here at alive), but just how much is too much? How do we know when it’s becoming a problem?
Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway have developed an instrument to measure Facebook addiction. According to the researchers’ report Facebook addiction is considered a subdivision of a larger field of Internet addiction studies connected to social media.
Who’s more susceptible to Facebook addiction?
The study found that respondents addicted to Facebook were more likely to represent the following demographics:
- Younger people
- People who are more anxious/socially insecure
- People with delayed sleep-wake rhythms
The study also suggests people who are socially anxious or insecure may be more susceptible to Facebook addictions because they find it easier to communicate with social media.
People less likely to become addicted to Facebook
Respondents to the study were less likely to be addicted to Facebook if they belonged to these groups:
- People who are organized
- People who are more ambitious
People who are less likely to become addicted to Facebook use it more as an integral part of work and networking.
To measure addiction the researchers developed a Facebook Addiction Scale based on six criteria. Respondents record the degree they identify with each item in the criteria based on the following scale: (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, and (5) Very often.
- You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan use of Facebook.
- You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
- You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
- You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
- You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
- You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.
Scoring “often” or “very often” on at least four of the six items may suggest that you are addicted to Facebook.
Andreasen’s study also suggests that symptoms of Facebook addiction resemble those of drug, alcohol, and chemical substance addiction.
Read more about how to overcome addictions.