A new study conducted at the University of Albany was attended by 292 students aged 18 years and over. Volunteers evaluated their attitude toward social networks by responding to questions similar to those that are commonly used to diagnose addictive behavior.
Almost 90% were active Facebook users. They gave the social network approximately one third of the time they spent on the Internet. 67% received Facebook messages on their smartphone.
10% of Facebook users could not control the social network visits. Participants had a strong desire to visit the site, felt annoyed if they could not, and spent more and more time in Facebook. Researchers found that people who could not live without social networks often had problems with alcohol. In addition, many respondents depended on Facebook, unable to control their emotions, which in previous studies was associated with drug addiction.
Researchers believe that Facebook has several characteristics that may contribute to the development of addiction, similar to the drug. A message or new content in the news feed is a reward. It is not possible to predict when new content will appear, so people will come back to their page again and again. This contributes to the formation of dependence. Scientists believe: dependence on Facebook should be officially recognized as one of the behavioral dependencies.