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Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD)

“Facebook Addiction: 36.7 million users added a year. India poised to overtake US as Facebook’s No. 1 market.” Firstpost.com

Addiction and obsession?

The issue of privacy is as interesting as it is complex.With so much international violation and dialog about the bounds of privacy, it is a paradox that many of us share deep, personal thoughts on Facebook.However this is the key to Facebook’s popularity: it provides an easy, fun user experience, a place to be in touch, share, vent and laugh.

In fact the social network has become such an integral part of our lives that often when meeting people the end of conversation is, “Hey, I can add you on Facebook to be in touch!” The time we spend sharing content, updating posts, responding to comments, putting up pictures or merely ‘liking posts’ has increased with smartphones, cheaper 3G services and dynamic content, leading to Facebook usage that is more an addiction than an obsession.

If you do not fulfill your responsibilities or complete your assignments because of Facebook activities, it is time you cried ‘Stop’ and make some drastic changes in your way of life!

The Psychology of Content

Corporates, NGO’s and most businesses are all up on Facebook, leveraging on the fact that ‘everybody’ is on Facebook and it’s true; it’s a digital market place to sell, promote, distribute products – and in a more powerful manner – ‘ideas’. It’s simple to track an audience, follow trends, graphs, put up ads and other marketing accessories that tell you the frequency with which your page is viewed, ‘liked’ and commented on or how much time someone is spending at your page. And based on trends, new marketing strategies are put in place. Our pages are catered to what we browse for the most, and the goal is to get people to spend more time on the network.

Let’s take heed to what Dave Whitelegg said, that although Facebook is a fun way to keep in touch with friends and family, it can also be dangerous.

“Posting certain photos or information on the site puts you at risk of being fired, a victim of crime, or even worse. There are computer programmes called ‘data mining’ that sweep Facebook to collect dates of birth, phone numbers, addresses etc. That’s gold dust to criminals,” the Sun quoted Whitelegg, an IT security expert, as saying.

Managing your reputation

According to research by social scientists, there was a time when people grew to care about their reputation. But today, we ‘manage’ our reputation and social media plays the enabler. In terms of Facebook becoming an addiction, the clearest sign is when we feel our normal social life intruded uponwithour digital presence. The urge is strong to pull out one’s phone, write status updates, put up pictures and then constantly check to see who has commented. Like any drug, Facebook can start to interfere with daily functioning at work or school. If we’re not just trying to find excuses to get on Facebook – but are doing so on automatic, it will cause problems in health and work performance.

Information at the rate 

of steam

A media professional, Vijay Karthik, says we’re living in an age of chaotic content. We often have to sift throughthe barrage of all sorts of content everyday. The stream ofinformation hits you at a rate where information is steam and knowledge – a flash point in impulsive decision-making. Facebook has so much interactive content: news, app development, games, celebrity pages, music, TV-shows, and otherentertainment.

It’s an interesting question to ask users, whether or not they find themselves using Facebook more often than they used to. Again, in terms of chaos, there is just so much content online to read and interact with. We find ourselves spending much more time on Facebook than any other web service. The last decade we saw web browsing as an obsession. In these times, it’sabout being able to log into interactive social networks (often with your Facebook ID).The Internet itself has changedin a way unforeseen and everything is at your fingertips, a simple ‘search’ away. No wonder we find ourselves driven by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

Facebook Addiction Disorder

It’s not in the DSM yet, but there is an unofficial condition known simply as ‘Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD)’.

Facebook itself has Facebook Addiction pages where you can sign up. A lot of them resemble the stark ‘Freedom’-themed websites that rehabs use. Recent findings relate an individual’s social media use to the response of the brain’s reward system. It is also suggested that Facebook activity could be an indicator of psychological health, going all the way to say that our online activity can be used to predict mental illness! Any addiction is a powerful and ruthless enemy. It destroys everyone in its path, and leaves behind a trail of depression, destruction and health problems. Yes, FAD gives pleasure for the moment-but pain thereafter. So beware ! Cut loose, before ot is too late.

The 36.7 million added every year 

In schools, colleges and local hangouts, it’s common to see young people sitting around glued to their phones or iPads’ as though there isn’t anything around them that could ever be halfas engaging. What’s unnerving is the abuse and harassment that takesplace oversocial media. Recently a 14-year-old committed suicide because a classmate was leaving abusive posts on her page. How far are we individually and socially really affected by Facebook and social media? Or in terms of our interaction and usage,are we affecting it?

In 2012, Facebook set up shop in India. I shouldn’t have been surprised. The network adds 36.7 million users a year in India. Facebook estimates that there are 7.5 million children under the years of age 13 using Facebook (The age limit is 13 years, but this is very easily bypassed).

The captive addict now begins to lose many areas of his life. He sacrifices health, money, family, relationships, education, career. The beautiful promise of life is lost to addiction.

A place to procrastinate 

When I think about my usage of Facebook, I realize how much I’ve shared links and content, how often I’ve checked for updates (whenever I had a chance). It can be a great place to procrastinate. When I needed a break, rather then push away the laptop I’d just log into Facebook to see ‘What’s up’: check the newsfeed, look at photographs, check comments. These days, I very conscientiously check my Facebook once or twice a day only, like email.

Change certainly began with putting work aside and taking a walk up my hill, talking about the weather to my neighbors, having face to face conversations and making more phone calls then a simple message or comment. It sure beats staring at the blue and white newsfeed all the time!

Pradeep Rajendran, is a young enthusiastic journalist and freelancer, interested in youth issues. 

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