Facebook: could you be unwittingly addicted?

Have you ever wondered if you’re addicted to Facebook? Why not find out?

Woman slouched at desk at night on Facebook

Do you spend a lot of time on Facebook? Is your thumb sore from scrolling through your news feed? Are you addicted?

At the time of writing, Facebook had over 1.65 billion monthly users, so it shouldn’t be surprising if many of them show classic signs of addiction. In fact, Facebook addiction has become so prevalent that scientists are trying to track it.

A group of Norwegian researchers have come up with a psychological scale that specifically measures Facebook addiction. It is the first of its kind and they hope that it will help them investigate problem behaviour linked to the biggest kid on the social media block. It may even be useful for measuring other social networking addictions, such as those found on YouTube, online gambling portals and video games groups.

The test is known as the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS) and has been created based on rating factors that make up the six core elements of addiction: salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict and relapse.

The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale contains six basic criteria, with respondents required to rate themselves with one of the five following responses: (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, or (5) Very often, on these six statements:

  1. You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning how to use it.
  2. You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
  3. You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
  4. You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
  5. You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
  6. You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies/[life].

Dr Cecilie Andraessen, one of the BAFS’ leading creators, says that people who score ‘Often’ or ‘Very often’ on four of the six questions may be addicted to Facebook.

According to Dr Andraessen, Facebook addiction does tend to happen to younger people more so than older people and, due to the social nature of Facebook, women are more likely to become addicted than men.

Another interesting finding of the study was that people with high scores generally had sleep problems, or at least went to bed late at night and woke up very late in the day.

"We have also found that people who are anxious and socially insecure use Facebook more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face," said Dr Andreassen.

Are you addicted to Facebook? How do you rate on the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale?

If you’re going to get hooked on Facebook, you may as well get the good stuff from the YourLifeChoices Facebook page. I jest – it’s all healthy retirement news and a heck of a lot of fun to boot!

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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    PlanB
    1st Jun 2016
    9:58am
    I am not o Facebook and never have been
    Happy cyclist
    1st Jun 2016
    11:16am
    Same here PlanB. Have never signed up and don't intend to. To me it seems to be a substitute for making the effort to spend real time with friends and family on an individual basis but I get the sharing of photos, but then you can send photos easily attached to a personal email if you really care.
    Bookworm
    1st Jun 2016
    11:53am
    Me neither, PlanB. I cannot for the life of me think of anything more boring. I have better things to do with my life than spend time on such a load of rubbish. Most of it seems to be for narcissistic, self-indulgent, photo-shopped snaps of "celebrities" which unfortunately we have to look at when they are so often posted on news sites, etc.
    rtrish
    1st Jun 2016
    10:52am
    I use Facebook a lot, to keep in contact with friends and family. But after reading your article, I realise I am not actually addicted. Hooray!
    cranky
    1st Jun 2016
    2:45pm
    Facebook is a big part of my life..it keeps me in touch with all my family spread around the world at the touch of a button, and without it I would not have any contact with them or their families..It's fine for those who are surrounded by their family to say it is a waste of life but not to people like myself, It is a wonderful tool, and I don't feel so separated from those I love..apart from that I love a quick dive into the pokies at night for half an hour ..I am not spending my money!! ...Am I addicted?...only to the Pleasure of closing that distance across the sea..and an occasional win...
    PlanB
    1st Jun 2016
    2:51pm
    If you can afford to do it enjoy while you can Cranky I have never been a gambler not even on tickets they buy or on the Melbourne Cup
    Bookworm
    1st Jun 2016
    7:10pm
    What about Skype, cranky? Much more personal and warm than bloody facebook....
    micko
    1st Jun 2016
    4:11pm
    Great way to keep in touch with friends living overseas and to see their family photos.
    Not an addict according to the criteria I'm pleased to say.
    Young Simmo
    1st Jun 2016
    6:47pm
    Some people go to Church and some don't.
    Some people go to Horse races and some don't.
    Some people use Facebook and some don't.
    What's the big deal?
    Penqueen1949
    18th Jul 2016
    10:58am
    Exactly

    4th Jun 2016
    9:33am
    In the main find it fairly boring...

    Too many bloody photos of plates of food people are eating, big-noting small talk, and 'posing selfies' for my liking....But I guess an 'alternate reality' that has bugger-all to do with 'real life' for some so addicted.....

    Would much prefer a phone call, a lengthy email or even a 'snail trail' handwritten letter....

    Have never skyped but think that would be more personal.....
    Penqueen1949
    18th Jul 2016
    10:56am
    I use Facebook to stay in touch with people who give me moral support with my battle from brain cancer. I also have liked lots of photography pages, science pages and other learning pages. However rhe questions about addiction don't apply to me. I live alone and use Facebook as a source of caring and learning.


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