Facebook is one of the most populated sites on the web. Boasting over 1 billion members, the network has a large population, and each day millions of the more active members login to interact with others. Most individuals are likely to use Facebook as a part of daily routine to get social updates, however, some may actually have an addiction to the network.
The concept of computer addiction became more evident in the mid to late 1990s when information/theories first began to emerge. At this time, there was no Facebook, but there was a closed network called America Online, and some users became addicted to AOL chatrooms and bulletin boards. It was during this time talk of online addiction began to materialize.
Fast-forward to 2016 and, while AOL is all but a distant memory for most, the traditional computer addiction symptoms are very similar and can be attributed to modern forms of online socialization, such as Facebook. The question is how to differentiate between habit and addiction when it comes to logging into the world’s most populated online social network?
There is often a very fine line between habit and addiction, however compulsive logins or continuously refreshing pages of the network is a potential warning sign of addiction. This does not necessarily signal an addiction, but it might. If you find you, or someone you care about, can’t pull away from the network other than short periods of time, this could be a sign of addiction.
2. Connecting Facebook to Mobile or in Search of Internet Connection
Mobile is prominent in 2012, and projections over the next several years indicate the growth of mobile is not going to slow down. That being said, individuals that connect Facebook to their mobile device and continuously check it throughout the day can signal a problem. It is one thing to connect to mobile for the convenience factor, but it’s another thing entirely when one’s face is glued to their screen all day scrolling through Facebook feeds.
If not using mobile, an individual that spends their day seeking some form of Internet connection in order to access Facebook no matter where they are, or what they are doing, could be addicted. A Facebook addict may tend to spend an inordinate time trying to get online and access the network, and become frustrated or angry if prolonged time is spent away from the network; some may experience anxiety from being disconnected.
3. Distracts from Other Responsibilities
While Facebook may be a routine part of life in modern day, it should not be replacing other activities. In other words, if the attachment to the network is dominating and distracting from important responsibilities, there is a potential addiction issue present.
Consider whether or not Facebook is overshadowing time at work, taking the place of carrying out familial responsibilities or if the house is a wreck because the Facebook-centric individual is too busy on the network to clean.
4. Replaces Family Time and Offline Friendships
An individual that has isolated his or herself from family and friends in favor of Facebook could be addicted to the network. A warning sign could be if the individual knows more about their “virtual friends” than their own family or friends that either live outside the network or spend far less time on it.
If a person knows more about what is happening with their Facebook friends, often people who are strangers or individuals that haven’t been seen in decades, rather than those they share a dwelling with or have long-term friendships, this could signal a problem.
5. Constantly Thinking About Facebook
Facebook on the brain could signal a potential addiction to the network. A person who is addicted might be constantly thinking/planning about what they could share online while they are offline and/or wonder what games their Facebook friends are playing or conversations taking place on the network. When disconnected from Facebook, these individuals may be constantly talking to others about their “Facebook life”.
Years ago when theories about computer addiction emerged in the 1990s, the Internet was more of a novelty, not a necessity. Today’s world is quite different and being constantly connected has become the norm. Yet, addiction can still be a problem, but unfortunately this aspect of social networking seems to be less of a focus as society perceives constant connectivity as the “norm”.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.