Facebook Addiction – New Psychological Scale

  • You would be forgiven for thinking that social media like Facebook is fast becoming something of a scourge of modern society.  I personally know of distasteful incidents in schools where Facebook has been the main catalyst for the presenting issues and barely a week goes by without some negative report in the popular media of someone getting themselves into trouble for questionable comment on Facebook, Twitter or similar.

    FacebookThe sad fact is that social media has become something of a “must-have” in the modern business world as well as what it was originally intended for, i.e. staying in the loop with what your mates are up too.  Any company these days that doesn’t have a robust social media policy and uses it to promote their products or services is very much behind the curve.  Indeed, as soon as I press “Publish” on this particular post, it will also bomb-burst out to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!  I actually posted an article once that I later found out popped up on the Smart Phone of an old friend who was  at the time flying 3000ft over sunny Florida as part of his pilot’s license!  Such is the connected World in which we live these days.

    I have personally addressed “Internet Addiction” in a number of clients but, I suppose it comes as little surprise that research conducted by Dr. Cecilie Andraessen at the University of Bergen (UiB) in Norway has resulted in a new psychological scale called the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS) designed to measure this addiction.  I must say, however, that I think the name would more accurately reflect modern habits if it were called the Social Media Addiction Scale.  As it stands, it infers that Facebook has become the pariah of social media and although it is perhaps the most well known, I think this to be unfair and all social media should be taken into account.

    So are YOU addicted to Facebook?   The finalized BFAS contains six basic questions six basic criteria, to which you should give one the following five  responses: (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, and (5) Very often:

    1.  You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning how to use it.

    2.  You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.

    3.  You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.

    4.  You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.

    5.  You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.

    6.  You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.

    Research suggests that a score of  “often” or “very often” on at least four of the six items may suggest that you are addicted to Facebook.  Obviously, if we were to study wider social media addiction, replace “Facebook” with “Social Media” in the above.

    Of course, if you have done the above and the result suggests you are addicted, don’t worry!  Just as you have learnt this behavior, so too can you unlearn it with a bit of help.  You know how to get in touch!




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