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According to researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway, we are now dealing with a subdivision of Internet addiction connected to social media, and Facebook is one of the main culprits.

The university’s Facebook Addiction project, headed by Cecilie Schou Andreassen, says certain types of people are at greater risk of addiction to Facebook, including younger users, people who are anxious or socially insecure, and women. Andreassen believes women face a higher risk of getting addicted to Facebook because of its social nature.

Andreassen’s research suggests that symptoms of Facebook addiction are similar to symptoms of drug, alcohol and chemical substance addiction. The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale uses six basic criteria to measure the degree to which a person might be addicted to Facebook. The criteria, which are scored on a scale from “Very Rarely” to “Very Often,” are:

  • You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan 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.

You can take the test yourself at PsychCentral here.

Source: University of Bergen

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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