Facebook users can gain insight into whether they may have an addiction to the social network by responding to six statements by psychologists at the University of Bergen in Norway.
The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale involves ranking the statements on a scale from 1-5, with 1 being ‘very rarely’, 2 meaning ‘rarely’, 3 being ‘sometimes’, 4 denoting ‘often’ and 5 being ‘very often’:
- 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.
A score of ‘often’ or ‘very often’ on at least four out of the six statements could signify an addiction to Facebook, according to the psychologists, the symptoms of which resemble those of drug and alcohol addiction, and substance abuse.
The psychologists also found that Facebook addiction is more common among younger users, especially women, who are anxious and socially insecure, and thus find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face.
On the flip side, users who have the lowest risk of developing a dependency on Facebook are those who use the social network mainly for work and networking.