Is Facebook simply a part of your daily or weekly routine, or do you find yourself compulsively checking your feeds and updating posts? Researchers from Norway have said they've created a tool to determine whether or not a person is addicted to Facebook.
According to a news report from the University of Bergen (UiB), researchers from UiB have developed an instrument called the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale to measure an individual's use of Facebook.
The project has been headed up by Doctor of Psychology Cecilie Schou Andreassen, and the study examined Facebook dependency and the demographics that appear to correlate with an addiction to Facebook.
As a part of the development process, researchers examined social media addiction as a subdivision of Internet addiction. This study is the first of its kind globally, said UiB. The research included 423 student participants which was comprised of 227 women and 196 men.
One interesting factor when examining demographics with Facebook addiction was the Norwegian team found women "are more at risk of developing Facebook addiction," which does appear to align with an earlier study reported in 2010. In that study, Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research found one-third of women check Facebook before going to the bathroom in the morning, and 21 percent checking the network in the middle of the night.
Want to test yourself? The research team outlined six warning signs of a Facebook addiction and are scored 1-5 with the following scale: (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, and (5) Very often.
The criteria asked are:
• You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan use of Facebook.
• You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
• You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
• You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
• You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
• You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.
Andreassen's study suggests those who answered "often" or "always" on four or more of these questions may have a Facebook addiction. The lead researcher indicated the symptoms of a Facebook addiction resemble the same indicators that arise in addictions relating to drug, alcohol and other substance abuse.
Internet related addictions, in general, are a topic currently examined and questioned as to the true nature of how the Internet (and social media) has impacted society, and whether or not it is an addiction subject, or some other underlying issue.
Full details about this new development, including other characteristics that were generally observed to be present with a possible Facebook addiction, can be found in the journal Psychological Reports.