Facebook has become a staple in our everyday lives, regardless of whether you use it for professional networking, personal relationships, or simply to pass the time. However, while liking photos and updating statuses may seem harmless enough, researchers believe there are some signs you are dependent on Facebook — to the point where you need it to determine your self-worth. So how do you know when your Facebook habit has gone from casual to actual dependency? According to a recent study reported by IBN Live, there are several major factors that will let you know if your Facebook usage has crossed into addictive territory.
After compiling data from the habits of 301 Facebook users of all ages who reported they post at least once a month, researchers revealed that your dependency on the site depends on why you use it — are you signing on to see what everyone is up to, or are you on Facebook to see what you're missing out on?
The study also found that the most positive Facebook posts came from individuals with higher self-esteem, who simply use the site to share and stay connected with people they already know. Meaning, Facebook is just fine as long as you're using it just to share your life and not living it online.
Regardless of what category you fall into, it's healthy for everyone to remember to unplug and disconnect from the web every now and then. It might be difficult, but it's worth it!
Here are three signs you might be dependent on Facebook.
1. You use Facebook to meet new people
The study found that people who are most Facebook-dependent are those who use it to meet new people. According to Amber Ferris, an assistant professor of communication at The University of Akron, these people are usually extroverts who "communicate personal information easily on the web but are not always honest in the information they disclose."
2. You use Facebook to get self-validation
Seeking attention from others on Facebook also proved to be another sign of dependency. Instead of learning about themselves through personal experience and face-to-face interactions, these types of people "rely on feedback from Facebook friends to better understand themselves," Ferris said. These users also tended to "have agreeable personalities but lower self-esteem than others," and showed a dangerous reliance on the social media site.
3. You use Facebook to search for entertainment
Researchers also found that "the need to search for information or entertainment (such as ideas for going out/leisure activities)" was linked to developing a Facebook dependency.
We've all heard that social media can be dangerous when it replaces your actual relationships and in-person interaction. So it's important to remember that Facebook, like many other networking sites and apps, is just a connective tool — not a means of replacing real connections with real people.
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