Is Facebook addiction possible? A recent study says yes. Using the social network compulsively can create a tremendous disconnect from friends and family. It might seem counter-intuitive that a site designed to keep in touch with friends could actually alienate an individual. But the virtual world of Facebook has the potential to take the user from social networking to social dysfunction.
Facebook first launched in 2004 and according to the company, it now boasts more than 400 million active users. Half of these users log on to Facebook every day and there are more than 60 million status updates posted each day. The average user has 130 friends and spends more than 55 minutes per day on the site.
Dr. Jane Morgan Bost, associate director of the University of Texas Counseling and Health Center highlights the problem is not Facebook itself, but the disconnect people are able to achieve when they use the platform. The warning spots are easy to spot when social networking uses start to interfere with the daily routine.
“Could be a student’s grades start tanking, they could be losing sleep, they’re often unaware of how much time they’ve spent on Facebook,” Dr. Bost said. “They’re not really making the choice to do it, they’re just feeling this sense of compulsion and having to do that behavior.”
Industry experts say to get rid of a Facebook addiction, the first step is to acknowledge the problem. An individual should keep a log of the amount of time spent on a site and if it is excessive, set a time limit. Turn off the e-mail and mobile notifications to maintain better control.