Are you a Facebook addict?

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Well, Facebook addiction must exist: Norwegian researchers have created a psychological scale to measure it.

The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale is based on six quick questions, meaning you won't have to stay offline for too long.

So here goes: score the following items as (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.

So how did you do? Scoring 'often' or 'very often' on at least four of the items, apparently, means you may have a problem.

Facebook dependency occurs more regularly among younger than older users, says Dr Cecilie Schou Andreassen of Bergen University, and women seem more likely to succumb than men.

"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," she says.

"People who are organised and more ambitious tend to be less at risk from Facebook addiction. They will often use social media as an integral part of work and networking."

Her team's now working - seriously - on other similar metrics, including a Bergen Work Addiction Scale.