Critical Thinking Media Competence

Facebook—A drug?

Checking the time line and posting interesting stuff got more and more important in our society over the last 10 years. Between 2007 and 2011 the time an average American guy spent on Facebook compared to the google or yahoo sites increased by the factor nine. A typical American spends over 9 hours a week visiting the social network. This is about 8,5% of our average time being awake. But consider that there have to be people above this average time, using Facebook during 20% or 30% of) the day, compensating the ones below this average.

But how did it commence? It starts always as a web page, giving the customers a possibility to appear whoever he wants to be: successful, rich, good looking. It can make you feel special, seeing 70 people liking your fake picture, when no one recognizes you sitting in a park. And after some time the community gets more and more important. A survey found out that most children start measuring their life of how successful they are on their pages. Their real world and their online world start to collide. These phenomena were never seen before, except with people who were addicted to drugs. But is Facebook a drug, and Marc Zuckerberg the greatest drug dealer in history?

Scientists of the Booth School in Chicago tried to find out how being offline penetrate their 200 propositis. They found out that only sex and sleep is more important for the people than Facbook. Cigarettes and alcohol lost their pole position after the basic human needs. But in contrast to them there is no physical addictive disorder using the online society too much.

For a long time the addicted argument was that they only lose time in contrast to a "healthier" peer group. But researcher have found out, that the time you spend on social media correlates positive with your happiness research. They argue that it is in the human nature to compare your situation with the situation of others. But there can be no real comparing if you have 5000 friends and everyone looks great. People start to compare their real life with the fake life of their friends, as they do in return. In the end everyone thinks that his or her situation is worse. The system that started make you feel special ends with showing you that everyone else is special and making you feel mad, jealous and self-loathing.

The second disorder is a total biological one. “A biologically-based need for seeking drives these Internet activities […] called dopamine“ (Krista Peck in “The Role of Dopamine in Internet Craving.” It is shown that people were motivated to do things because of dopamine. According to Kristina Peck dopamine is our motivation on the hunt for information, a basic human need. But according to Ms Peck “the Internet can ensnare you in a dopamine loop since it makes the process of reward-seeking so quick and easy. Before you know it, you have several tabs open in your Internet browser so you can monitor and engage with your various social media channels while you try to get some work done. Over time, you may add more channels and/or check them more frequently“. She calls that IAD, Internet Addiction Disorder.

Studies in China have shown that people, addicted to IAD, have a brain like the ones who were addicted to alcohol or other drugs. The MRI shows that people connect Facebook with emotions and self control.

To sum it up, of course facebook is the perfect tool to connect people all around the world. But having a closer look facebook can also be the wolf in sheep's clothing. Their main focus is to bind people on their network to benefit from them. Of course an addicted is way more helpful compared to a “part-time” user, just ask a drug dealer, he would be less successful) when you were not addicted to him. The use of a special term for these people show that the problem is getting beyond control and maybe in the future there will be AFU as a common word, Antonym Facebook User.

Johannes Zahner (J.Zahner)