Under the Hood

Facebook Addiction: Why It’s Becoming More Common

Facebook is among the most popular social media platform around the world. To date, it has up to 2.37 billion active users monthly and the figure is expected to continue to grow.

Social media mainly works to connect people. They may be families, friends, colleagues, public servants and people with businesses.

However, along with its benefits are the negative effects of too much exposure to such platforms. Today, some people have been slowly developing the new disorder called Facebook addiction. 

A new study, published in the journal Psychiatric Research, suggests that when people fail to receive the comfort they need from friends during stressful times, they tend to spend more time online, which then leads to pathological dependence on the social networking site.

The findings come from the analysis of the Facebook use and lifestyle of 309 users between the ages of 18 and 56. The researchers from the Mental Health Research and Treatment Center at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany collected data through online survey, which focused on students. 

"We have specifically invited students to participate in the survey, as they often experience a high level of stress for a number of reasons," lead researcher Julia Brailovskaia said in a statement

She said students commonly experience stress due to pressure to succeed and that they spend most of their times far from their families. The researchers asked the participants to identify their stress level, the social support they receive offline and online and how much time they spend on Facebook daily.

Results show that Facebook addiction occurs in people who have been dealing with high levels of stress. The research team said the higher the stress level, the deeper the engagement with the social networking site. 

Symptoms of the addiction include being preoccupied with Facebook all the time and feeling uneasy when offline. 

"Our findings have shown that there is a positive relationship between the severity of daily stress, the intensity of Facebook engagement and the tendency to develop a pathological addiction to the social networking site," Brailovskaia said. 

However, the effects of Facebook addiction goes down when people receive support from their families and friends offline. 

Social Media Researchers continue to conduct studies to explore the benefits and negative effects of spending time on social media. Pixabay

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