Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen of the University of Bergen has a theory about why some people develop chronic Facebook dependency.
According to Andreassen, Facebook addiction occurs most frequently amongst younger users, and tends to ensnare individuals who are anxious or socially insecure - probably because they find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face.
In contrast, people who are organized and more ambitious tend to be less at risk from Facebook addiction, as they typically use social media as an integral part of work and networking.
Andreassen also noted that women are more at risk of developing Facebook addiction, which perhaps unsurprisingly, seems to be related to extraversion.
"As Facebook has become as ubiquitous as television in our everyday lives, it is becoming increasingly difficult for many people to know if they are addicted to social media," Andreassen explained. "The symptoms of Facebook addiction resemble those of drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and chemical substance addiction."
So, are you addicted to Facebook?
Well, Andreassen has developed a Facebook addiction scale based on 6 basic criteria, where all items are scored based on the following categories: (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, and (5) Very often.
- You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan use of Facebook.
- You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
- You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
- You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
- You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
- You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.
Scoring "often" or "always" on at least four of the seven items above may suggest you are addicted to Facebook. How do you rank?