A new study in the everyday desires of ordinary people has shown that resisting the urge to look whether anything new has happened on social networking sites is actually more difficult than resisting the urge to have a drink or even a cigarette. This study focused mainly on Twitter and Facebook and came up some very interesting statistics.
The study looked at the range of desires people have on a day to day basis. Some 250 people were surveyed and it was found that people longer for sex and sleep most on a day to day basis. However, they were able to resist these. In terms of the urges they found the hardest to resist, checking Facebook and Twitter were the hardest to stop, which is social media addiction. In fact, although alcohol and tobacco are known to be highly addictive, many people found it easier to resist these. The question is, however, whether this took into account that some of these people weren’t addicted to either tobacco or alcohol.
How the Study Was Conducted
Each of the 250 people were interviewed by the School of Business at the University of Chicago Booth. They were then fitted with an electronic device and this created reports on the everyday desires people experienced. This equated to around 8,000 reports in total. The study was relevant not just in terms of looking at what our desires are, but also in terms of the psychology of desire.
The Psychology of Desire
The study proved that if people are able to resist a craving or urge when it hits them, they are more likely to cave in when the same craving happens again later on. It was demonstrated that willpower diminishes during the course of the day, and our self-control efforts do end up failing. The suggestion is that what we should do instead is resist the craving for a few minutes, and then give in but in a lower amount. For instance, when we crave a packet of crisps, we should wait a few minutes and then eat just half a pack of crisps instead.
The dangers of Facebook and Social Media
The most interesting part of the study, however, was in terms of revealing just how addicted we are to social media. But what does a Facebook addiction actually look like? How does it demonstrate itself? The disorder has now been named FAD (Facebook Addiction Disorder) and has the following six addiction signs:
1. Lower tolerance, meaning that addicts crave Facebook more and more and feel anxious when they can’t access it.
2. Withdrawal symptoms when removed from Facebook. These are similar to other withdrawal symptoms from psychological addictions, including moodiness, irritability, anxiety and headaches. This is also known as Facebook depression.
3. Reduction of other social activities. Facebook addicts spend so much time talking in a virtual social relationship that they no longer spend any time in real, face to face social interactions.
4. Virtual dates. A real Facebook addict will start to make appointments to “meet” on Facebook at certain times to have conversations.
5. Fake friends, where people start to add others only to build up their friends numbers and to be able to engage in conversations on status updates, even if they do not in any way know these people for real.
6. Deepened addiction, where people start to make Facebook pages for their pets and children, introduce themselves in real life and immediately ask for a Facebook add and so on.
Facebook Addiction Statistics
So how bad is FAD? Do we know how many people suffer from it and who is more likely to fall victim? Lightspeed Research and Oxygen Media looked into this and taught us that:
• One third of women between the age of 18 and 34 will check their Facebook before even brushing their teeth. This is made particularly easy by having Facebook Mobile.
• 21% of the people who were studied admitted checking their Facebook if they wake up in the middle of the night.
• Most of Facebook users over the age of 35 prefer instant messaging and Facebook to real conversations.
• Over 100 million people have Facebook Mobile and these people tend to be more addicted than those who only have it on their computer.
There are now also various websites where you can take a Facebook addiction test.
Should Facebook Be Banned?
As always when it turns out that something is addictive, there are calls for it to be banned. However, there are good and bad sides to Facebook. The bad thing is that addiction is real and that it can have consequences in terms of destroying real relationships and having a lack of real social contact. On the other hand, it allows those with a busy lifestyle to be in contact, people with friends all over the globe can communicate and there is a scope for using it to spread positive or even revolutionary messages. Facebook should not be banned, we should learn to moderate our dependency on it to prevent Facebook addiction. Or should it be banned because it severely adds to internet addiction? What do you think?