It´s easy to see how people can be addicted to social media sites like Facebook. They are incredibly easy-to-use pipelines into the lives of others. Staying connected to Facebook can feel just like being connected to actual people.
Noticing the rapid use of Facebook and reliance upon it for human connection, Doctor of Psychology Cecilie Schou Andreassen created a research project called Facebook Addiction at the University of Bergen (UiB).
An article detailing the results has been published in the journal Psychological Reports.
According to Andreassen´s study, young people are more likely to develop an addiction to the social media giant than older people. Additionally, Andreassen says those who are anxious or socially insecure are more apt to use Facebook, as these people find it easier to communicate with others behind the digital veil of social networking rather than face-to-face communication.
Women and the extroverted are also more likely to develop an addiction to Facebook, according to the new research.
The social nature of Facebook is what makes it so appealing to women, placing them at a higher risk, while the extraverted are naturally more outgoing and find the use of Facebook suited to their social needs.
Facebook has become so ubiquitous in everyday life that escaping the social media site takes more effort than using it. Since “everyone is doing it,” so to speak, it can be difficult to know if a person is truly addicted to Facebook or if they are just an avid user.
Andreassen´s study suggests the symptoms of Facebook addiction are similar to those of alcohol and drug addiction, as well as chemical abuse.
The study was based on 6 basic criteria which were scored on a scale from 1 to 5, with one meaning very rarely and 5 meaning very often.
The basic criteria were:
• 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.
According to Andreassen´s study, those who answered “often” or “very often” at least 4 times are likely to be addicted to Facebook.
To conduct this study, Andreassen and team monitored the use of Facebook by 423 students-227 women and 196 men.
Addiction to Facebook is something which has been suggested for years, as users realized how easy it is to “zone out” for hours at a time looking pictures, reading comments and sharing links with one another.
Last year, writer for ZDNet.com Zack Whittaker wrote a story which associated quitting Facebook to quitting smoking, saying the first few days are the hardest, and eventually it becomes easier to stay away.
“The want and need to be open is a strange thing for the younger generation. It´s not that we no longer need to be private, but that we actively want the world to notice us in a strange, almost perverse sense of longing for attention,” writes Whittaker.
“Perhaps with the burgeoning worldwide population, we feel as if we aren´t being noticed?