Facebook addiction is a smaller offset of Internet addiction or internet overuse. When Facebook addiction comes into play it’s mainly due to the amount of time spent on Facebook and nothing else. An over dependency or dedication of time to Facebook is no different than internet porn addiction, gambling addiction, or online gaming addiction.
There have been several studies in the psychological field that explores the existence of Facebook addiction. Academic findings have classified Facebook addiction under the greater umbrella of internet addiction disorder or IAD as it meets several of the qualifications listed.
As is the case for any other form of internet addiction, Facebook addiction can be attributed to depression among other things. According to Dr. Kimberly S. Young, addiction to Facebook and other internet activities can cause stunting of social interaction, psychological functioning, and work ethic.
Another reason explored is social anxiety and insecurity. Dr. Cecille Anderssen—who led the creation of the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale—mentioned that Facebook allows socially insecure people to communicate easily as there is a good deal of distance than in person.
Former social networking rival MySpace had a similar addictive nature prior to falling out of favor for Facebook. Emerging rival Tumblr has the same addictive nature as Facebook. In a recent interview, the founder of the social networking platform stated that users spend roughly 14 minutes on it, compare that to Facebook’s 11 minutes.
Several things can make Facebook addictive, some of which lies in the accessibility the platform offers. This accessibility combined with the user’s nature can make for an addictive combination.
From the user’s end:
From Facebook’s end:
Offering a “one-stop shop” for users in regards to games, social interaction, and keeping others informed as to a user’s status.
No need for the user to travel or go out of their way to visit people.
In a way, Facebook could be seen in the same way as Amazon or eBay where it offers convenience. Having to travel around to find a store can be viewed as time consuming—especially if what is sought isn’t in that particular store. The one-stop shop element of many sites can result in a dependency.
The mentioned Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale is one method created to measure addiction. The six question questionnaire rates responses from (1) Very Rarely to (5) Very Often. It mainly focuses on the frequency of Facebook use and attempts to curb or regulate dependency on Facebook.
While there are methods of overcoming Facebook addiction such as “weaning” and help groups, it’s also believed that Facebook addiction can wear itself out. This is because of the rapidly changing nature of technology and social networks, Facebook could fade out. In the meantime, help groups and addressing the problem are key.