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Test Your Addiction To Facebook

Are you addicted to Facebook? Or simply highly engaged to it. Take this test and find out.


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Julien Dimastromatteo

3 years ago | 5 min read

When Facebook first made an appearance, its main and only focus was to connect people. Mark Zuckerberg and friends created a virtual yearbook. Today, the Facebook app reaches a phenomenal number of 2.7 billion monthly active users.

Think about it, starting at a campus-scale to reach such a gigantic number of users, Facebook must be more than just an appealing social networking app.

Amongst these 2.7 billion active users, you'll find a wide range of individuals with various centers of interest. You have the 13 years old teenagers — hopefully not younger — who play online video games with their friends. You also find 100-year-old grandpas and grandmas — with no exaggeration — who just try to stay connected with their grandkids.

There are so many kinds of interests and people between these two examples, in this world, that, to manage to gather billions of people every month on the same platform, there must be something more than just appealing. Facebook must be addictive.

Facebook Addiction

A large number of research studies showed that the most popular motivations for using Facebook are communication-related. In other words, users seek mainly social relationships and companionships via the platform.

Indeed, on one side, many positive effects are associated with this virtual activity, but on the other side, some individuals seem to be driven by inner and outer forces to use excessively and compulsively the social networking site (SNS). When this behavior is motivated by the purposes of mood change, it is then associated with addiction.

Although Internet addiction research and understanding is still in its infancy, a growing core of evidence has emerged. It has led to the inclusion of internet gaming addiction in the fifth edition of the authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Furthermore, the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) proposed classifying addictive Internet use of social networking sites (i.e. Facebook) under the section “other specified disorders due to addictive behaviors.” As a matter of fact, according to Kuss and Griffiths, Facebook carries a potential addiction by itself and should be classified as a subcategory of internet addiction.

The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale

The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale was the first test developed to help diagnosis such conditions. It was in 2012. Dr. Andraessen and research fellows from the University of Bergen in Norway came up with a 6-items scale that aims to determine how much addiction is in your relationship with Facebook.

The six items of the quiz are reflecting the basic core of addictions such as salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, and relapse.

Let’s make it interactive. Reply to each of the 6 items with one of the following frequency: very rarely, rarely, sometimes, often, or very often. Write your answers down on a piece of paper.

  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.

The scoring is working as follows. If your answer is “very rarely” or “rarely”, then you score 0 points. If your answer is “sometimes”, “often”, or “very often”, then you score 1 point. A total of 3 points and above suggests an addiction to Facebook.

Addiction Predictors

Let’s say your score is below the threshold. That’s fantastic. Even if you use the platform quite often, you are probably just highly engaged but not addicted. Now, if your score crossed the threshold. Chances are that you might on the spectrum of addiction to the use of Facebook.

I can hear your inside voice saying “Oh no! What did I do to become addicted to Facebook?!” Well, to this latter I would be tempted to reply it is not entirely on you. Human Nature is to blame first and Facebook playing with human nature is the culprit too. However, that s not all. Scientists found out that there are onset predictors to Facebook addiction.

A group of Italian researchers driven by Dr. Biolcati looked deeper into the personal traits and underlying emotional states of the study participants taking the Facebook addiction test with the idea to determine if there are profiles more susceptible than others to develop an addiction to Facebook.

The findings are really interesting and seem logical after reading them. The results suggested that if you are someone reliable, responsible, organized, and self-disciplined, you should be ok. In other words, if you are a conscientious person, it is unlikely you would have fallen into an addictive behavior to Facebook. Your capability to stay focus on your main goals by avoiding distraction i.e. SNS, is playing an important role to manage your approach to Facebook

On the opposite, an individual big-time extravert will fit very well the definition of a Facebook addict. Someone exacerbating high extraversion seeks stimulations that the platform offers at its best. On Facebook, an extravert can talk, cheer, and engage with others all day long, and therefore push to excessive use.

Along with extraversion, another personal trait that is well known to be a risk factor for psychological illness, in general, was confirmed in this Italian study to be a major predictor for Facebook addiction. Neuroticism is a trait that usually makes people more susceptible to addictions. Due to their social anxiety, neurotic individuals prefer an online chat to an in-person conversation.

Besides the personal traits mentioned above, the study looked also at the correlation between the life emotional state of participants and their potential addiction. The study suggests that lower life satisfaction and an emotional state of loneliness were correlated to the problematic use of Facebook.

Now, don’t make me wrong. Far from me the idea of judging anyone with high scoring results. The idea of bringing up the onset predictors of Facebook addiction is to deflect the focus of potential therapies toward underlying conditions. In other words, it would be more beneficial to improve one’s personal traits and emotional state to addictions.

Overall Considerations

The difference between being addicted to Facebook and being highly engaged in the social media platform resides, in my opinion, in its use with purpose. A Facebook addict will compulsively and excessively scroll down the app without really looking for something in particular beside instant gratifications. Contrarily, someone highly engaged and non-addicted will use the social platform with the purpose to look for something specific.

As the field of online addiction keeps growing, further tools like the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale need to be created and evaluated to diagnose and help the most vulnerable amongst us. In the meantime, let’s be responsible when we can, and moderate our use of social networking sites.

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Julien Dimastromatteo

Doctor in Science | Entrepreneur | Writer | Founder of Open-Minded Elixir


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