How to Defeat a Facebook Addiction
1Recognize the signs of a Facebook addiction.While there is currently no such thing as a medically blessed diagnosable “Facebook addiction” or “Facebook addiction disorder” that a health or medical professional could categorically state you’re suffering from, addictive behaviors have common threads that can lead to dysfunctionalsocializingand obsessive behaviors. The following signs indicate an unhealthy neediness for Facebook:
- You wake up and the first thing you do is “check Facebook”. And it’s the last thing you do at night.
- Nothing else thrills you or you feel “empty” without Facebook. All you want to do is spend time on Facebook, even to the exclusion of getting work done that needs to be done, or meeting family obligations. When not being on Facebook causes physical pain, sweats, illness and you’re chomping at the leash to get back on it, your obsession has become an unhealthy one.
- You’re not able to go for more than a day without using Facebook. If forced to do so, you find yourself suffering from Facebook “withdrawal” symptoms, such as finding nothing else interesting, trying to find ways to get back to Facebook even if it means using a computer that is either out of bounds (for example, not yours), or difficult to get to, or you find yourself intensely worried about missing out on Facebook updates. These are all very unhealthy signs.
- Even if you’re not on Facebook constantly (indicating you need a reality check), checking it many times during the day is a sign of compulsive behavior. Spending more than an hour on Facebook a day will easily cut into all the other obligations you have in life and may cause social dysfunction problems.
- Your real life isn’t going so well, and Facebook presents a fantasy escape life where everything seems unencumbered, neat, happy, and easy – all things that are the opposite of your everyday life.
- Adequate sleep ceases to be important to you. Instead, you’re prepared to stay up way too late just to be able to accommodate your Facebook neediness. After all, you excuse yourself, your friends might think it’s remiss of you not to be around!
- Nostalgia has you in its grip. When Facebook starts becoming a way through which you’re living in the past, it’s a sign of needing to break from it. Rehashing old loves and friendships with the hope that you can pinpoint the exact moment where your life should have taken a different turn and trying to patch it up through fantasizing over Facebook is looking backwards and beating yourself up over what didn’t work out. Realize the importance of living in the here and now. This type of nostalgia is even more damaging if you have a loose tongue about the relationships you’re actually in because other people will be reading your words, and some may perceive them as a betrayal or as signs of an emotional affair.
- You have tons of friends on Facebook but you still feel very lonely. X Research source
2Start questioning what you’re doing on Facebook.Rather than simply going on Facebook and “falling under its spell”, start consciously determining what you’re really getting out of Facebook. Asking questions about its value to you in your own life’s context is healthy, especially when you feel that you might have been overdoing it a bit. Whittle down to the things that bring real value, within a defined time limitation. Record what you’re doing on Facebook for a week. Be diligent about this reality check task and don’t spare yourself; buy a small notebook and devote time to its updating. Things in particular to keep an eye out for include:
- If you’re just checking in to respond to pokes, to see friends updating their profiles, to write a new note, or to see what songs your friends are adding, you’re addicted to trivia. And letting trivia run your day is not conducive to a satisfying life long-term!
- Are you wandering about Facebook aimlessly? You’ve just confirmed a new friend, and you’re curious as to the friends of that friend and whether any are your friends, or could be your friends, and what those friends are doing? If this sounds all too familiar, your time on Facebook has turned aimless. And you’re being lulled into this by the connectivity ease of Facebook without being alert to the lack of productivity resulting.
- Are you excusing yourself because of work? Even someone using Facebook for business purposes can start allowing the business socializing to bleed into general socializing under the rubric of “work”. It’s important to notice when you’re falling into this transitional phase and to demarcate work and socializing, in order to put a time limit on both. Otherwise, you’re giving yourself too large a justification to just keep on keeping on Facebook.
- Is that friend really a friend? How beneficial is maintaining a friendship with someone you’ve never met but linked up just because they were a friend of a friend of a real friend of yours? They might be amazing but if they’re barely connecting with you, they might be part of the peripheral distractions that are causing you to sink into Facebook rather than interact on Facebook in ways that have true value.
- Is any of what you’re doing constructive either from a personal or a professional point of view? Be honest with yourself!
3Decide what is of value on Facebook.Whatever the reason for being a part of Facebook,boundariesmatter and knowing what is of value and what is not will help you to rein in poor online habits. Even a reason of wanting to ensure that your family is kept up-to-date of your interstate or overseas happenings can meander out of control if your concept of “family” expands. If you use Facebook for work and personal reasons, the value will probably be broader, but it is still important to define the value boundaries for work and personal time. When deciding upon what value you’re getting out of Facebook, consider the following:
- Are you enjoying it? Is this enjoyment balanced with a whole range of other enjoyable pursuits in your life too?
- Do you feel obliged to respond to some people on Facebook even though you’d prefer not to?
- Which parts of Facebook really do improve your personal and professional life? It can be helpful to list these for clarity, and to clear some of the negativity and the trivia.
4Try giving up Facebook for a specific event to see how you fare.This article is not advocating leaving Facebook entirely unless that’s the choice you feel you want to take. However, it can be very advantageous to choose a special event and to decide that for the duration of that event, that you will not use Facebook at all. You can even warn your other Facebook friends that this event is coming up but whatever you do, stick to it. For example, some Facebook users take summer vacation breaks, some take a break for a religious observance such asLent, and some people take breaks when special family events such as aweddingor a birthday are coming up and they need to prepare, travel, be available for it, etc., without wanting to be distracted.
- Any well-defined event carries significance for breaking a habit because they represent occasions during which you need to focus on other than yourself, whether it be faith, family, or some other important external matter. This can help to take you outside of any internal funk that has you glued to Facebook, as well as providing a set period during which you’ve promised yourself that you won’t use Facebook. During this break, reflect on your Facebook neediness and think through how to restore a more even-keeled approach to using Facebook.
- The good thing about telling your Facebook friends that you won’t be on for a bit is that you’ve just burned a bridge that will cause you to “lose face” if you do sneak on. Be strong and give them the reassurance that you’re one to keep your word.
5Target solutions to enable smarter, brighter usage of Facebook in the future.While you couldquit Facebook, it’s probably far more productive, constructive, and socially useful to manage it and to put Facebook in its place in your life. Some of the positive solutions for healthy Facebook usage include (and you’ll think of others):
- Avoid fiddling with the periphery. Take a good look at your profile. Does it work for you or does it bother you? Changing a profile image over and over is a sign of worrying too much about your Facebook image. If the current image works, leave it be. If it bothers you, fix it right now, photo included. Why? Because once you fix it, be prepared to leave it alone for a long time. Keeping your profile stable will build trust in the online environment; not constantly trying to update it will spare you one more unnecessary fiddle on Facebook.
- Stop changing your status frequently. Think “so what?” before attempting to do this. Every time you change it, it clogs up your friends’ news feeds. Why do you feel compelled to announce your every move or mood you are temporarily experiencing? It ceases to be of interest for others, and it’s more unnecessary fiddling for you!
- Think of how often you use Facebook applications. In order to use an application, you must install it on your account. And then use it; and many apps are compelling enough to draw users in for hours at a time. X Research source Before adding any application ask yourself “How productive is this?” If it is worthless, think about what it’s doing to your friends who get to be at the receiving end of your invitations to gain points, receive gifts, or to see results… Each time a person receives an invitation, they need to accept or ignore it. Don’t be the cause of another people’s fiddling. And make applications work for you, not the other way around; get rid of the ones that are sheer time-wasters or pointless.
6Be careful of the race to have as many friends as possible.If you’re driven to have more friends on Facebook than you can ever realistically engage with regularly, it’s important to stop what is, effectively, a “friendship addiction”. X Research source Facebook to blame for ‘friendship addiction’, Vol 19, Issue 9, Therapy Today, 17487846, (2008)Having more friends than you can realistically connect with can be a source of anxiety rather than pleasure. Enjoy the friends you already have on Facebook but weed out those who aren’t adding anything to your Facebook experience.
- Given that Facebook almost compels you to add friends, if you’re vulnerable to defining your self-worth through the amount of friendships rather than the quality of them, then Facebook can be dangerous for you while you’re recovering from any other sort of addiction or going through emotionally difficult times. X Research source Facebook to blame for ‘friendship addiction’, Vol 19, Issue 9, Therapy Today, 17487846, (2008) Resist the urge to add people you don’t really know or want to engage with, and to cull those who mean very little to you from your friends list.
- Beware of the potential of Facebook to increase a sense of loneliness rather than assuage it. Spending time on Facebook rather than with face-to-face friends will increase any feelings of loneliness you may already have and ironically, the more people you’re trying to keep pace with, the lonelier it’ll seem because you’ll end up with quantity rather than quality. X Research source Switch from using Facebook as a substitute for friendships to using it as a way to energize and synergize the friendships you already have. X Research source
Avoid being a Facebook automaton. If you’re caught saying, “I’ll Facebook you later” or “I’m going to do some Facebooking”, then you’re well overdue for taking a break from the site to hang out with friends in the real world (or offline life). Every time you feel like saying “I’ll Facebook you”, check yourself and rephrase that with “I’ll see you”, or “I’ll call you”. And mean it – settle the catch-up time straight away…
Make it hard to go on Facebook. Ask someone to change your password on Facebook then not tell you so you can´t go on Facebook. In an extreme case, delete your Facebook account. By knowing ahead that you will never go back to it, you find a way to enjoy other stuff you’re doing in the present instead of being impatient and thinking “How much longer is it going to be till I check Facebook one more time?”
Decide that you don’t need to see all the news feed that appeared since you were last on. No matter how much news feed you get, there could have been even more that there wasn’t. There’s no difference between missing a post and that post never having existed which you would have had no problem with. The point is to see at least one super-interesting post, not to see all of them. Sometimes somebody thinks of a topic and wishes there existed a YouTube video on that topic but that’s a lot rarer than an endless chain of deciding that since you saw a suggestion, it looks interesting, so you decide you must see it.
Make it less appealing! When using Facebook, you can choose what appears on your timeline, by liking pages, joining groups and hiding annoying people you create a custom made “safe-web-space” filled with information that appeals to you with no negatives. Unblock those who constantly post selfies and share Britain First posts and simply visit the websites of pages you enjoy (or find alternatives) rather than viewing them through Facebook. Nothing short of a library will cure your information addiction.
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How do I take a break from Facebook?
Change your password to a long, arbitrary string of symbols and deactivate your account. Or, simply make a post letting people know you’re on a “detox” and will re-post when you’re back in business.Thanks!
How can I quit on facebook without deactivating my account?
Facebook has a short-term deactivation option, where you decide on and click a specific date of return, whereby facebook logs you back in at that agreed time.Thanks!
How do celebrities manage their Facebook without addiction and losing their creativity?
Some celebrities probably struggle with this just like we do, but many hire assistants to manage their social media accounts for them, and they just tell the assistant what to post so they don’t have to take time out of their day.Thanks!
How do I delete Facebook?
You can delete the app, or you can go to settings and close your account down.Thanks!
My husband as a Facebook addiction and is in complete denial. I believe it’s affecting our marriage. I have asked him how many hours a day he spends on Facebook. Is there an application that can be used to know this?
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- To hide a Facebook application addiction from your friends, click on the “Edit” next to the Application on the left hand side. Click on the “Edit Settings” of each application and un-check the “Mini Feed”. This will disable the specific application’s activity logged in your friends’ News Feed and your Mini-Feed on your profile. This method is very helpful if you take a lot of movie quizzes. Of course, hiding your addiction isn’t healthy, so it’s far better if you can manage to rein it in. Thanks!
- To help you unplug, keep ajournal, either online, or, preferably, in a book that you can use away from the computer. If you feel an irresistible urge to post a new status update, write it in your journal instead, and then continue writing all the personal associations and feelings that a status update wouldn’t have room for (or which would get you in trouble with friends and family). You will get to know yourself better and with much more depth–not just the superficial self you presented on social media. Thanks!
- Coincidentally, even some of the mental health professionals who are supposed to be able to help the rest of us spot our addictive online activities are themselves enthralled by them! X Research source Thanks!
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- If you aren’t able to gain control of your addiction, see a psychiatrist or therapist immediately. Thanks!
- Don’t automatically decide addiction is a bad thing and fight it. In some cases, somebody was bored with not enough to do all along then they found something they’re highly addicted to which got rid of that problem. Thanks!
- Alarm clock with timer sound to limit your Facebook time
- Other distractions
- Calendar with meet-ups penned in to spend time with others
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