I am sure you have heard people say that they have an addiction to Facebook or some other social media addiction, maybe you have even thought or said it about yourself.
There is no doubt that Facebook and how we use it to stay in touch with friends and family has for some people meant it has taken over a big chunk of their lives, but is it an addiction? For the most part it has enriched the lives of millions, reacquainted them with long lost friends and been responsible for some of the tear jerking stories normally reserved for the Jeremy Kyle show.
Long lost friends, family members, Dad’s and Mum’s have all be discovered ex lovers and new lovers for that matter. SO it’s no surprise that it can captivate us. Its like Coronation Street, Emmerdale and all the other soaps rolled into one, but on Facebook you get to ‘star’ too.
For most people its an effective communication tool, not an addiction, but unfortunately, just like it is for the real soap stars, it can be difficult to find time away from the constant publicity, there are few hiding places on Facebook, our whole lives can become a goldfish bowl, and facebook addiction is an easy thing to fall into.
So how do we know if its becoming an addiction or a problem, if it’s starting to interfere with your lives? Whilst Facebook addiction is not recognised medically, there is very strong evidence that some people and some personality types can become addicted to facebook and this type of media. Psychologists have created a scale designed to measure whether the Facebook habit is getting out of control.
I have included some of the questions Psychologists are asking about Facebook use below.
Psychologists ask you to answer the following questions on a scale running through: very rarely, rarely, sometimes, often, up to very often (Andreassen, 2012). Note that you should decide how often these have happened during the past year:
- Spent a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planned use of Facebook?
- Used Facebook in order to forget about personal problems?
- Felt an urge to use Facebook more and more?
- Become restless or troubled if you have been prohibited from using Facebook?
- Used Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies?
- Tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success?
According to the author, if the answers are either ‘often’ or ‘very often’ to at least four of these six questions, then the Facebook habit may well be getting out of control and could be an addiction.
The crossover between a habit and an addiction is clear, we may have habits that are not an addiction, so maybe it is better to ask the question.
Does your use of Facebook interfere with your ability to fully function in areas including: family life, work, social interaction and any other task which you used to do without problems pre Facebook?
If the answer to this is yes, then maybe you should start looking at your use and why it may become a bad habit or worse a Facebook addiction.
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