Facebook has been the part of every Singaporean’s life from its onset. Many people are drawn to Facebook because of its appeal. Getting connected these days is not that hard and coping up to happenings are no trouble at all. Some even think that Facebook is a gift to humanity. But is it really a gift or otherwise?
It will only be a curse if we let Facebook take over our lives. We hear news that Facebook can get addicting. Well, anything can be addicting if we yield to it. There is a Dutch project called 99 Days of Freedom that studied the effects of Facebook and released the top five warning signs of getting addicted to Facebook. The project has seen more than forty thousand people who attempted to quit Facebook.
According to the founder of 99 Days of Freedom, not using Facebook is liberating. Now we cannot totally abolish Facebook in our lives but we can limit its use so it does not interfere in our daily lives. The good news is that after the survey, the participants feel slightly happier and in fact, about 25% gave up Facebook for good.
For those who kept their Facebook accounts, they said that they are missing out on something important. The researchers partnered with Cornell University to comprehend why many users find it difficult to give up Facebook. The researchers also collaborated with Universiteit Amsterdam and Leiden University.
The researchers revealed the warning signs of getting addicted to Facebook:
- Thinking that Facebook is a tool to control our image: Facebook is a platform to express one’s feelings but if we constantly check it and ensure that our “good image” is maintained, then it has become a mental illness. There are people who use Facebook to present a privileged lifestyle and good-looking pictures. It is tempting to want to show the world of the “sunnier” side but then we may find it harder to give up. It discourages us to be real.
- Using Facebook or other social media sites: If it is just Facebook, it would be harder to let go but if there are other social media that we can scan, there is a possibility to stay out of Facebook for good. There are many social media sites aside from Facebook like Twitter and Instagram. There are those who think that substitution is not a good solution or effective answer to slay the addiction but it is a start.
- Feeling that we might actually be addicted to Facebook: Whenever we think that our urges are uncontrollable, the brain sends message that we might actually be addicted to something. In this case, we already know that we are leaning to the addiction but still pursue it regardless. Research found out that for people who felt that they are addicted to Facebook are likely to go back using it.
- Feelings of unhappiness: For the first few days of logging out, there is an unpleasant feeling. That is understandable and quite normal actually. The research found out that people who felt less happy during the course of the study are included to use Facebook again. Ironically, those who made it to 99 days without Facebook felt a lot happier than those who gave up.
- Not worrying about privacy: If we do not care about our privacy, Facebook is the place for all types of stalking. For participants who are aware that Facebook can use everything they posted as a tool for ‘spying’, they felt less interest in going back to the site.
Addiction is not something that should be ignored. Though getting addicted to Facebook is somehow absurd (for others), it is important that we should know when to get help and not wait for it to fully control or interfere our lives. There are many therapists across the country if that is the concern. For starters, we can look for ways to minimize our exposure to Facebook or any other social media.
We can finally take that vacation, talk with our friends directly and go on a hike. If that is not enough, there are plenty of activities that we can consider that can encourage personal interaction. At the end of the day, Facebook should not destroy relationships or self-value but the other way around.