Facebook is arguably number one social network site. Going by the recent statistics, Facebook is showing an estimated membership of over 600,000,000. Its popularity, however, has come with a price. Number of people getting addicted to it is rising at an alarming rate. Ubiquity, instantaneousness, and prevalence of technology and especially the internet, has made it such subtle lure that its deadliness becomes apparent when one gets hooked. It is estimated that 1 in 8 Americans is addicted to the internet.
Facebook is undeniably a wonderful communicating tool. It helps friends and family keep in touch with each other. It has even helped lost families reconnect. It has served other worthy causes. But problems kick in when users start finding it hard to log off. When hours upon hours are spent pouring on “friends” photos, updates and chatting endless, at the expense of other activities. Despite there being no medical diagnosis for Facebook addiction, it is perceptible that it is a growing concern. It is estimated that Facebook users worldwide collectively spend more than 20 billion minutes “Facebooking” daily. Facebook has become an obsession to many users, and this has negatively impacted in their careers, school, and family life. A study by researchers at Ohio state university has shown that students who regularly frequent Facebook do worse in school tests.
Some pointer to Facebook addiction includes: losing sleep over Facebook because one finds it hard to log off, falling behind on homework assignments because time is wasted “Facebooking”, work becoming second to “ Facebooking”, no sooner has one turned off the computer than he turns on phone to continue “Facebooking”.
Shaking off Facebook addiction can be realized. The key is to first accept that you have a problem and get the will power to free yourself from the Facebook entanglement. Establishing what you really do on Facebook and how much time you spend there could help locate where the problem is. For example, do you spend time chatting, reading your friends’ updates, or playing games? It could also be helpful to set time to update your status and check your news feed, if you can just make it not more than once in a day. Take a walk with your best friend instead of chatting online. For a change you can read, or listen to music. If all fails, why not de-activate your account?
Another strategy that has been used to cope with Facebook addiction is formation of support groups. Friends form a pact to help one another and become each other’s keeper, on observing the pact which could be the mutual agreed log in time. Asking someone else to change your password has also worked for others. Taking a Facebook fast has also been helpful to others.
Those who have been able to wean themselves from Facebook addiction have reported marked improvement in their lives. They have become better students and grades have improved. Social life offline has also peaked, and life has become more meaningful, fulfilling and enjoyable. Others have become better workers, and parents.