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                                        ARE YOU A FACEBOOK ADDICT? 

Are you a social media enthusiast or simply a Facebook addict? Researchers from Norway have developed a new instrument to measure Facebook addiction, the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale.

"The use of Facebook has increased rapidly. We are dealing with a subdivision of Internet addiction connected to social media," Doctor of Psychology Cecilie Schou Andreassen says about the study, which is the first of its kind worldwide.

Andreassen heads the research project “Facebook Addiction” at the University of Bergen (UiB). An article about the results has just been published in the renowned journal Psychological Reports. She has clear views as to why some people develop Facebook dependency.

"It occurs more regularly among younger than older users. We have also found that people who are anxious and socially insecure use Facebook more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to face," Andreassen says.

People who are organised and more ambitious tend to be less at risk from Facebook addiction. They will often use social media as an integral part of work and networking.

"Our research also indicates that women are more at risk of developing Facebook addiction, probably due to the social nature of Facebook," Andreassen says.

Six warning signs

As Facebook has become as ubiquitous as television in our everyday lives, it is becoming increasingly difficult for many people to know if they are addicted to social media. Andreassen’s study shows that the symptoms of Facebook addiction resemble those of drug addic addiction, and chemical substance addiction.

The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale is based on six basic criteria, where all items are scored on the following scale: (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often Always. 

• You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning to use of Facebook.

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

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

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

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

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

Andreassen’s study shows that scoring “often” or “very often” on at least four of the six items may suggest that you are addicted to Facebook.

Disponível em: <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507102054.htm> Acesso em: 3 jun. 2013 (Texto adaptado)  

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