According to a test I took a few minutes ago, I am 15% addicted to Facebook. Not bad, really.
But as I sit comfortably with 85 percentage points separating me from an all-out addiction, many Americans fidget in their chair with far fewer points between them and what is becoming known as “FAD” (Facebook Addiction Disorder).
Facebook and its Addictive Qualities
At the end of last month, 901 million people were actively using Facebook. 80% of those users live outside the US and Canada.
We’re talking about more than a 10th of the world’s population actively using Facebook! In case these numbers don’t convince you of the social media’s power, scientists have conducted studies demonstrating the obvious: Facebook has addictive qualities.
Facebook and Science
One new study found that — don’t hold your breath for an incredible new find — Facebook is a habit-forming activity. Researchers questioned 1,000 men and women and discovered 85% of them using Facebook as a part of their daily routine.
“Facebooking may become an unconscious habit. A majority of the respondents log in every time they start their web browser.” Leif Denti, a doctoral student helping in the study told ScienceNewsLine.
Like other addicts, these users demonstrate typical signs of addiction and withdrawal. About three quarters of those questioned said they log in every time they start their computer (addictive behavior). More than a quarter admitted to feeling uneasy if they can’t login regularly (withdrawal). Those spending more time on Facebook seem to be less content and generally less happy with life (psychological impact).
Researchers also learned that women spend an average of 81 minutes per day on Facebook—30% more time than men.
Beyond Social Media
When I think about Facebook, a few things come to mind:
(1) Interaction: More than 125 billion connections between friends and acquaintances have been made through Facebook.
Social media is all about customer interaction. And if you can get your customers to interact obsessively, you’ve created a successful social media business.
(2) Obsession: According to one psychologist, approximately 350 million people suffer from Facebook Addiction Disorder.
This may have been unbelievable to me a few years ago, and I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it a disorder, but Facebook has definitely shown its obsessive power to millions of users over the years.
Be careful how much time you spend on Facebook. Sometimes an obsession, which often leads to an addiction, can happen subconsciously.
(3) Comparison: A recent study found that 75 percent of Facebook users are unhappy with their body size, and 51% reported that Facebook makes them more conscious about their body and weight.
These stats tell me that people are logging on and spending more time comparing themselves with their “friends,” than they are connecting with people. The danger of this is an increased risk of an eating disorder or a shot to your self-confidence.
Am I Addicted to Facebook?
By now you're probably wondering, like I was, if you’re addicted to Facebook. Here are a couple questions to that should help you answer that question. (Answering “yes” to two or more indicates a problem.)
- Do you lose sleep over Facebook?
- Do you ignore work because you’re on Facebook?
- Do you find yourself depressed when not on Facebook?
- Do you confuse real life and Facebook?
- Does the thought of getting off Facebook leave you in a cold sweat?
How did you do? Are you addicted? Let us know by sharing a comment below.