For many people across the U.S., waking up to look at a piece of technology has become second nature. Roughly 96% of us own a cellphone and over 60% use our phone as an alarm clock– it’s in the palm of our hand from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. Addiction to our phones is a huge problem, and Facebook plays a major role in that.
Across the U.S., over 169 million people use Facebook, and over 2 billion people worldwide have an account, alive or dead. However, with news about Facebook selling user data and data breaches, roughly 26% of users say they have deleted the app and decreased their usage of the social media giant. But unfortunately, that isn’t enough to deter some users from ceasing to use.
What Keeps Us Coming Back?
There is no need to use Facebook in the wake of all of the negative publicity they have received. So why is it that we can’t bring ourselves to completely delete the social media giant? Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Reddit, are used nearly as often as Facebook and essentially provide the same gratification- sharing what’s happening in our day to day lives with our friends and family. So what’s the difference?
Is it the simplicity it provides? The instant gratification? Maybe it’s because it does everything the above platforms can do and more. Whatever it may be for each individual person, there is a serious addiction that needs to be addressed.
We All Know Someone
After reading this section’s header, someone has already popped into your head who you know has a problem with Facebook. Someone who checks it from the moment they wake up, to the last moment of their day. Currently, there is no official medical diagnosis for Facebook addiction, although studies do show social media brain patterns resembles that of a drug addict.
When a study was conducted on 20 undergraduate students to see how they acted with withdrawal, anxiety, and conflict, when it came to Facebook, it found that the test subjects responded faster to cellphone notifications than to street signs. An alarming finding knowing how dangerous operating a cellphone and driving can be.
While it can’t be proven that Facebook is the result of weight loss, actual addiction, or suicide, Facebook has many parents and other adults on notice. Parents are restricting and monitoring the usage of Facebook by their children, young adults ages 18-28 are switching to other platforms, and Facebook is taking measures to ensure that tomorrow’s users are still using today.
Signs of Facebook addiction include:
- Not being able to check Facebook creates an “empty” feeling until that urge is satisfied.
- A user cannot go more than a day without checking the platform.
- Constantly checking the platform throughout the day- spending more than one hour per day.
- Facebook provides an escape away from real-life situations.
What Does it Mean?
This isn’t to say everyone needs to go out and delete or deactivate their Facebook account, but its to call awareness to a serious problem that is more prevalent than one may think. Social media pulls us at every turn throughout the day with mobile notifications, people texting us saying did you see x, y, or z, and the knowing that a brief release is inches away. The majority of smartphone users have at least two social media apps on their phone, which provides even more of a pull back. Understanding addiction is a serious matter and if social media addiction does begin to take over someone’s life, assist them and get them the help they need.