Are You Addicted to Facebook?
As 2014 fades into 2015, humanity may be closer than we think to the future. We were promised hover cars, meals in a pill, and colonies on Mars. We were also promised Skynet and artificial intelligence.
Well, what we got was Facebook addiction disorder.
Believe it or not, social media addiction and Facebook addiction are very real disorders. Don’t believe me? Are you reading this on your phone while downloading the latest episode of Sons of Anarchy, checking your Instagram feed, liking friends’ statuses, and driving?
I rest my case.
What No One’s Saying about Social Media Addiction
Okay, so I probably didn’t have to convince you internet addiction was a real disorder, but what about social media and Facebook addiction? That might take a little more convincing.
I’d like to make a bold claim. I think that we enjoy being addicted to Facebook. Nobody likes addiction, right? Wrong. Not only do we like our Facebook addiction, I think we love it.
Consider what Alcoholics Anonymous, the oldest “addiction treatment” around, has to say about alcoholism. They wrote,
“Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol…They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks” (Alcoholics Anonymous pp. xxviii – xxix).
If you substitute the words social media or Facebook for alcohol, you describe our current culture. We use social media because we like the feeling it produces. Who doesn’t like seeing their status blow up? Who doesn’t like posting a picture and seeing it jump to double, or even triple, digit likes?
We love our social media addiction! We love our Facebook addiction. As for being restless, irritable, and discontent, well, what happens when we can’t get on social media? What happens when we don’t have wi-fi? We feel like crap. We obsess over how we can connect and see what others are up to.
Yeah, we’re addicted to Facebook all right.
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Glued to Our Phones: Social Media Addiction on the Go
As if all the above weren’t bad enough, we now have smart phones so we’re on social media 24/7. We’re addicted to Facebook…while driving. We’re addicted to Twitter… in church. We’re addicted to Instagram…in the shower.
Need proof? Well, a recent study found that we’re actually damaging our neck and spine from how often we use our phones. Sounds suspicious to me. We’d have to be hunched over and staring at our phones for a pretty long period of time to do damage our bodies. Oh, yeah, Facebook addiction.
We’re always hunched over and staring at our phones! So, our social media addiction has gotten so bad that we’re hurting our bodies. How is that different from, say, a heroin addict using dirty syringes?
The shock factor aside, the two aren’t different. In both cases, we’re causing harm to our bodies as a result of addiction. One’s socially acceptable and one’s not. Both are compulsive and result in negative consequences. Think I’m making too strong of a point? Well, consider a little something called Facebook addiction disorder.
The Ugly Truth: Facebook Addiction Disorder
The latest and greatest form of social media addiction has reared its ugly head. That’s right folks, Facebook addiction disorder is an actual medical condition.
An American psychologist coined the term in 2011. He believes that Facebook addiction disorder has six criteria. In order to be considered addicted to Facebook, one must meet two to three of the criteria for a period of six to eight months.
The six criteria are:
- Withdrawal Symptoms
- Loss of Social and/or Recreational Activities
- Virtual Dates
- Online Only Friends
- ”Complete” Addiction
What’s the Solution to Social Media Addiction?
That’s the million-dollar question. How do we kick our social media habit? How do we get off the Facebook juice? How do we stop retweeting like maniacs?
Simple. We treat social media addiction the same way we’d treat any other addiction. We admit there’s a problem. We seek out professional help. Then we become involved in some form of support group (whether that’s a twelve-step fellowship, a rational recovery group, a religious denomination, or something else entirely).
After all, if the above can stop someone from drinking themselves to sleep each night, they can help us put down the phone and have a real conversation with a real friend.