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Photo by Karoline Hjorth.

Addicted to facebook

by Valeria Marchetti

So now my mum and dad both have Facebook accounts and many people can’t go a day without Facebooking. Is this dangerous and is social networking the only thing Facebook is good for?

There are more than 175 million active Facebook users around the world according to the site’s statistics and the number of members is likely to increase even more.

Last month Inside Facebook, a blog about the site, revealed that over 600,000 users joined the network last month. “If Facebook were a country, it would now be the 6th most populous in the world,” the blog claimed.

It is estimated that more than 3 billion minutes are spent on Facebook worldwide. Skinflint decided to dig deep and try to discover just what makes the site so popular.

Just how has grown from its humble roots as a college network to being the biggest social networking site in the world?

Facebook for survival

Sarah, 22, a Canadian student at Kings College said, “I want to know what is going on in my friend’s life. It’s not only a curiosity with Facebook. I like to feel like I’m part of their life.”

Markus, 25, a Greek student at Westminster University added, “Thanks to Facebook my phone bill is not so expensive.”

When asked, “Can you live without Facebook?” both of them said, “Of course not.”

Facebook in Education?

Besides the social aspect, Facebook has great potential to be used as an educational tool. Some educators are more than willing to integrate the site because it is so widely used that it makes communication with students easier and faster.

However some educators are very apprehensive about using this technology because they believe it blurs the line between their private lives and their jobs.

“The presence of college and university faculty on Facebook is a relatively new trend that has raised concerns about professional ethics re: the student-teacher relationship,” says Ana M. Martínez Alemán of Boston College.

Aleman is head of educational administration at the college and author of Online Social Networking on Campus: Understanding What Matters in Student Culture.

Addictive in more ways than one

Every time you log into Facebook, friendship invitations await you. They’re sometimes from people you don’t know and that can be annoying.

Easy problem to solve though, just hit your trusty ignore button and it’s over. But what if you were on the receiving end?

David Smallwood, head therapist at Priory's Addictions London told the Evening Standard that at least 10 per cent of the population were vulnerable to "friendship addiction.”

This means that some people see their Facebook friends list very seriously. They base their self-esteem on how large their friends list is.

Smallwood added, “The problem with Facebook is it's all about acquisition and this is an addictive process.”

Facebook Rehab

If you want to discover whether you are Facebook addicted or not follow this test. If you find yourself addicted the internet can sort that problem out. Although that may be how you got hooked in the first place.

Check these seven steps to get rid of facebook side effects.

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