Ever find yourself at home bored and subconsciously feel the urge to check and see what your friends or family members have posted on their Facebook profile? In this society, a person saying that they don’t have a Facebook is suddenly out of place. Facebook is so popular and familiar that a person can even browse the contents of the website via their cellphones. But when does one realize that there is a point in which doing this can actually be an addiction?
The results might be very surprising. Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has made an incredible influence in the evolution of social media interaction, surpassing that of its competitor Myspace which is now considered an obsolete form of social media. With over nine hundred million people with Facebook accounts created, this site is no doubt one of the top social media sites that the internet has to offer. But what exactly makes people want to create and constantly check their profile accounts?
A 2012 study at Milan’s IULM University shows that Facebook makes people feel good about themselves. The study measured the emotional and physical responses of 30 university students during three different experimental sessions. The results revealed that a particular psychophysiological pattern can be linked to Facebook use, in the same way that relaxing and stressful situations each generate different emotional and physical reactions.
These findings led scientists to conclude that “the success of SNSs [social-networking sites] might be addressed also to the ability they have in inducing positive emotional experiences,”(Palis) which are what draw people back again and again. But the constant browsing of Facebook might be an even bigger problem than people expect. An addiction is defined as a strong and harmful need to have something or to do something. Facebook addiction might just as well be as bad as that of drugs or gambling.
Dr. Cecilie Andraessen, a researcher at the University of Bergen in Norway did a study in 2011. She found out that the addiction tends to happen to younger than older users and it is generally women who get more addicted than men. Andraessen report states “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.
“(Paddock) The Norwegian team also finds that people who are more organized and ambitious tend not to become addicted to Facebook, and are more likely to use social media as an integral part of work and networking activity. This addiction may also be harmful to health as well for example, starring at the screen long enough can strain your eyes causing eye problems or sitting in a sedentary position without any physical activity can lead to weight gain these are just a few of the many factors that this type of addiction can cause.
With Addiction there is always a way to fight it, it just depends on the will power that a person has to try and change this dreadful lifestyle. One of the first ways to fight a Facebook addiction would be taking a break from the computer or phone every 30 minutes, doing this may help one find something better to do than lounging around and commenting on a picture or video someone has recently posted. Another idea would be something simple like replacing reading a Facebook post with reading a book.
This can help you expand your mind by practicing your reading skills as well as your critical thinking skills. This is primarily a fundamental habit to get into because when reading all the abbreviated text style writing that is seen on Facebook, one tends to grow accustom to the habit and end up making errors in areas such as school and work. A final solution that a person should do to break this habit would be to unplug all electronics for at least twenty-four hours and find outdoor activities like going to the park or going to a museum.
This idea specifically has sparked an event called “The National Day of Unplugging. ” Gwen Schurgin O’ Keeffe, A health journalist at the Huffington Post says “I truly find that I feel better when I have regular time unplugged just allowing myself to be in the moment. And, I can see a huge difference in my family when they allow themselves time to explore the world without plugs, too. They are all happier, more productive and more interactive socially – not just within our family but with friends and the greater world. ”(O’Keeffe)
With social media taking over the world, it seems like there is less time for people to take a look at reality and live in the moment, but because this has gotten out of hand, labeling social media as an addiction seems very fitting considering the circumstance. The real problem isn’t necessarily the website itself, but it is more so the people not taking initiative to get up and do something. It seems more comfortable to check on people who are doing outdoor activities than actually doing those activities themselves. So it’s time to get rehabilitated by getting unplugged.