(CBS Charlotte) — A new study by IDC, sponsored by Facebook, reveals that on average, smartphone owners check Facebook 14 times per day from their phones — yes, 14 times per day!
While this study may be a good reason for Facebook to celebrate, the rest of us should admit that this study is mildly depressing. I mean, what else do we check 14 times per day?
Moreover, it’s quite plausible that the more we use Facebook, the more depressed we become. Why? Well, simply put, you’re addicted to checking the news feed which is often filled with pictures and status updates from your Facebook friends who are often out on the town, living it up. And, where are you? More than likely, at home — living through the Facebook news feed.
We are now citizens of Facebook Nation, and America…we have a problem, clearly. If the amount of times you check Facebook from your mobile device falls below the average 14 times per day, pat yourself on the back — you’re not as addicted as the rest of us.
But wait, there’s nothing wrong with having a Facebook addiction, right? I mean, after all it’s not a medical condition…right?
While your doctor probably won’t diagnose you as a “Facebook Addict,” a study published in the Journal Psychological Reports measures the level of addiction a person has to Facebook, in addition to the possibility that they may suffer from neuroticism or other similar disorders.
In the study, participants were asked to answer a questionnaire called the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale.
Do you want to see if you are addicted to Facebook? Take the quiz:
Answer: (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, or (5) Very often
1. You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning how to use it.
2. You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
3. You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
4. You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
5. You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
6. You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.
If you answered “often” or “very often” to four or more of these questions, guess what: You more than likely have a Facebook addiction.
So, now that you’ve been “diagnosed,” what are you going to do to curb your addiction? While there’s no “cure” for a Facebook addiction, there are a number of things that you can implement in your virtual life to lessen the amount of time you spend on Facebook. But first, the first step is admitting that you have a problem. And yes, you have a problem. Once your virtual life becomes your main source of communication, you need to save yourself and rejoin the real world again.
Checking Facebook has probably become so routine for you, that you may not even be aware of how often you check the social networking site. So, to prove to yourself that you have a problem, keep a log of how often you use Facebook over the course of one week.
To curb usage:
- You can quit Facebook cold turkey, but if that doesn’t sound realistic, here are some other helpful tips:
- Take a break from Facebook — even if only to prove to yourself that you can disconnect. The “Facebook World” will still go round. If taking a break is challenging, consider deactivating your account. When you deactivate, no one can post on your wall or tag you in any photos.
- Don’t allow yourself to get sucked in to the drama found on Facebook. Do some of your Facebook Friends regularly post about their personal problems or post negative status updates? Does it make you depressed, but you still feel the need to “watch the train wreck?” Save yourself from the drama and hide them in your news feed. You’ll be surprised that once their negative posts are “out of sight, they are out of mind.”
- Set up mobile or email notifications, and only allow yourself to check Facebook when you have notifications.
- Call a friend or join a club, but remember to communicate with people without using social media. Curbing your Facebook addiction only to become addicted to Twitter, is not really curbing your addiction at all.
- Set a timer, and only allot yourself a short while to check Facebook in the morning and/or at night.
- When you’re out and about, don’t check Facebook. Facebook will still be there in your downtime. Just live your life, and post the highlights on Facebook later.
-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte