Are you addicted to 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!

Related articles:
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Facebook cheat sheet
Facebook to help you ditch your ex

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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