A budding body of research in the area of addiction suggests that Internet Addiction Disorder is becoming a real predicament; it is a psycho-physiological disorder involving tolerance; withdrawal symptoms; affective disturbances; and interruption of social relationships. The most widespread one is Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD).
It is no secret that the Facebook website is being abused by those that use it constantly. The site is usually blocked at work computers and has officially been banned in Syria, China, Vietnam, and Iran.
For those countries to take action against the site show it is hurting more than it is beneficial.
To be diagnosed as having Facebook Addiction Disorder, a person must meet certain criteria. At least two or three of the following six criteria must be present at any time during a 6-8 months period:
- The foremost thing is tolerance. This refers to the need for increasing amounts of time on Facebook to attain contentment and/or significantly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of time. This kind often has multiple Facebook windows opened at any one time. Three is usually a sign and over five shows that one is helpless.
- After reduction of Facebook use or cessation, it causes distress or impairs social, personal or occupational functioning. The distress may be a basis for anxiety and obsessive thinking about what is written on their wall on Facebook etc.
- Important social or recreational activities are greatly reduced and or migrated to Facebook. Instead of sending an email you post a message on your friend’s page about canceling a lunch appointment. One may also stop answering phones call from the parents and insist that they should communicate through Facebook chat.
- You know it is getting serious if you start kissing your girl or boy-friend's home page or if a VRML virtual walk through a park is your idea of a date.
- If your bookmark takes 20 minutes just to scroll from top to bottom andss you have no idea of whom 80% of the people in your friend’s list are.
- When you meet people you start introducing yourself by your facebook user name and follow that up with a "see you on Facebook" or your dog has its own Facebook profile. Also, if you send everyone you have met a friend request.
As we spend more and more time online no one questions whether it can be addictive. Some say that there is no such thing as Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). I am not sure we have any answer for that yet. I am sure the Medical-producing companies will be quick to say that there is medication solution out there with psychoactive drugs.
Even now, there are rehabilitation centers that are working with technology addictions including Facebook since is become so dominant. We hope that this will crack down on the Facebook frenzy, and bring back the real world.
Is addiction a problem or is information overload the bigger problem? Between blogs, RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, MSN, LinkedIn, Digg, and whatever next new social networking apps, we can keep ourselves busy 24 by 7.
There is still much hand-wringing and second-guessing among those who spend a lot of their lives online both at work and at home as to whether their online activities are any addiction problem.
When telephone was available for the mass for the first time, a lot of people started spending a lot of time on the phone, was that an addiction problem? Is iPod an addiction? There are people in my office listening to their iPods while at work. Is that also addiction? Or it is just a fetish?
Call it Facebook addiction or fetish; I see this as progress of enlightenment for the modern life. Our modern culture is unconsciously penetrated by the information (useful and useless) and we are all struggling with it.
Social networks collapse the difference between culture and practical life and our culture is codified and distributed through the Internet. As a result the ‘culture’ industry is now being expanded beyond fashion, music and magazines.
Much of this information that we are exposed to on the Internet does not at all ‘signify’ true information or freedom from deception but it has reduced significantly the impact of any mass deception. The people's need to connect, along with the growth of social connectivity, would raise the quality of the social whole to a new and higher level.
The organic composition of our social networks is growing. That determines networks as means of finding self-identities and not only as resources. Addiction may not be such a bad thing after all.