Connecting With Friends On Facebook: A Blessing Or An Addiction?
A notification pops up on your phone that makes you turn your phone over to check. You immediately open up the app to see who has made an update… Can you relate to this, yet?
I was the same until a few months ago. I would turn my phone on whenever I got a notification and without thinking I would click on the notification to open the app. It is no secret that Facebook, among other apps, has taken over our lives.
Whenever something happens – good or bad – we get a notification or sometimes we post a status updating our Facebook friends about what’s new in our lives.
Since early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally, many people resorted to staying connected with their loved ones over Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, and Skype. But did you stop and wonder about the implications of spending almost all of your time on Facebook?
And I’m not talking about the “Internet Generation” either. From Boomers to Millennials, all preferred to stay connected via Facebook this past year. Facebook has become an integral part of our lives. With the acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp by the popular app, our lives (and apps) are intertwined.
With over 1.1 billion users worldwide, Facebook addiction is becoming a real possibility. Maybe you don’t necessarily mean to scroll through Facebook and get updates from your online friends but no matter how hard you try, Facebook is the app your finger hovers over whenever you pick up your phone?
This behavior doesn’t mean you’re addicted to the app but if this behavior is affecting you and your online presence, then it can be a cause for concern.
To understand addiction, the first thing you need to do is understand the signs. While Facebook Addiction is not an official diagnosis, psychologists say that it is an ever-growing concern that needs to be addressed before it can negatively affect your life – online and offline.
Knowing The Signs Of Facebook Addiction
As I said, spending time scrolling through Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted but it’s always better to be safe than sorry, right?
Here are some signs that may suggest you’re addicted to Facebook:
1. You’re Worried About Your Online Fame
Do you get anxious when you don’t get enough likes, loves, and whatnots? Facebook is addictive because it offers instant gratification and rewards. As humans, we crave social contact but when the need to connect socially causes us to care about our reputation more, it can be a sign that you are addicted to Facebook.
2. You Spend Too Much Time Online Than Offline
You don’t need to dial your loved ones now. With Facebook, you can just post an update or upload a picture within seconds to let others know what’s happening. Many people worried about comments and likes in their online life have forgotten how to spend time with real friends in the real world. If you can relate to this, then maybe you’re addicted to Facebook.
3. You Obsess Over Reporting Your Status Everyday
Social security and privacy are a real concern but when you stop being worried about your digital footprints, then it can be a serious problem. Posting pictures of your pet on FB is okay, even posting an update on your recent travels but when you explicitly begin to express feelings of anger, excitement, every thought, and details of your intimate life, then it can be a problem. Over-sharing is a common sign of Facebook addiction.
4. You Have A Need To Friend More People
“Oh, you have 200 friends on Facebook? Pfft, I have almost 10,000!”
This is nothing to boast about. Having more online friends than real-life friends is not a status of popularity or a sign of a good social life. If you’re adding friends just to increase your number of online friends, then you may be an addict. Facebook friends are just a number. Relationships need to have meaning. You cannot measure meaningful relationships with numbers.
5. You Use Facebook As An Escape
Another sign of having a Facebook addiction is using Facebook as an escape from reality or a negative situation. Maybe you’re experiencing burnout so you use the app as a distraction or maybe you had a fight with your partner and you open Facebook to escape your negative mood. It doesn’t work like that! Using Facebook as an escape can be a huge sign of Facebook addiction.
7. You Automatically Open Facebook To Pass Time
When you’re having lunch and have some free time, your fingers and eyes automatically scan for that big blue “F” on your phone. Yes? It is also a sign that you’re addicted to Facebook. Telling yourself that there is nothing wrong with checking out some notifications can become a terrible habit if not stopped early. Facebook (or any app for that reason) is not an app you should be using to spend your free time on.
8. You Start & End Your Day With Facebook
The first thing you do as soon as you wake up is to check your notifications for an update? The last thing you do before going to bed is scroll through your Facebook for an interesting video? This is another sign you’re addicted. Starting and ending your day with Facebook is not healthy. This kind of behavior can affect your mood and sleep.
Is Facebook A Blessing Or An Addiction?
Two words: Instant gratification. Scrolling through Facebook activates our brain’s reward system. It gives us a sense of social acceptance and connection in the form of likes, shares, and comments.
Whenever or whatever you upload on Facebook, instant likes, loves, wows and comments make you aware of how many people saw your post or share. And while positive comments can help boost your self-esteem, negative comments can affect it as well.
Sure, being on Facebook helps you connect with people all around the world, helps you stay updated on what’s happening in the world but have you ever thought about how social media is affecting your social health, emotional health, or mental health?
Facebook has helped many people stay afloat and positive during the COVID-19 pandemic and other world events but with more and more people spending time on Facebook, it has become a sort of coping mechanism to deal with negative emotions almost in the same way other addictive substances or behaviors might.
Substituting real feelings for online ones might not be a blessing but an addiction. However, if you can relate to the signs of Facebook addiction, here are some ways you can break the habit.
Break The Habit…
To break your habit of spending too much time on Facebook, you can try:
1. Track Your Time
Track how much time you are spending on Facebook each day. You can use a tracker to understand your use pattern too. When are you using Facebook the most? During lunch, during class, or at work? If you need, spend no more than a few minutes on Facebook. You can use apps like Google Digital Wellbeing or Social Fever to help you track your app usage.
2. Take A Break
Taking a break from Facebook can also help. Start small, though. Stay off Facebook for a day, then slowly move on to a week. You might experience anxiety at first but in the long run, it will be helpful to your overall health and well-being. Take this time away to reconnect with your family and friends the old way.
3. Understand Your Mood
Understand your mood when you’re using Facebook the most. Were you feeling sad or hurt when you logged in on Facebook? How are you feeling after? Recognize your pattern, the mood, the motivation that made you log in to Facebook in the first place. Once you understand that, you’ll find it easier to break your habit.
4. Distract Yourself
It can be difficult to stay off Facebook at first but find some healthy distractions, hobbies, or activities when the urge hits. You can try:
Steps Not Helping? Ask For Help…
If the above-mentioned tips are not helping you break your addiction, it may be best if you seek professional help. It is not uncommon to develop a social media dependency but when that dependency begins to unravel your mental and emotional health, it’s time to seek help.
If you feel distressed over the thought of deactivating Facebook, if you’re experiencing anxiety, or if your relationships are getting affected by your use of the app, you should seek professional help from a counselor.
A professional can help you develop easy strategies to distract your mind when the urge strikes to use Facebook. For more, you can always connect with us at email@example.com.
I hope with this article you understand how dangerous Facebook addiction can be on our health – mental and emotional. Overcoming Facebook addiction may not be easy but with determination and patience, you can break your habit.
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