When you read an article in the newspaper, are you looking for the “Like” button? Do you check Facebook or Twitter after you go to bed? If your answer to these questions is yes, then maybe you have FAD (Facebook Addiction Disorder).
The internet has so many benefits for us: socialising, at work, and even in the classroom – no one really thinks about getting sick from it. Time we spend online can be productive, but for some people heavy use of the internet can interfere with their daily life as they become addicted. In the last few weeks I’ve realised that the most absurd things can lead to addiction, all of them online! There is now a growing body of research focused on the relatively new issues around internet addictions. People are spending more and more time in the virtual community, slowly turning away from face-to-face communication.
Here in Germany, FAD is a relatively new phenomenon. Still, it is unclear which groups are most hooked and until today there is no medical definition for Facebook addiction. FAD rather describes the behaviour of people using the social networking site extensively to document their daily life, chat with friends and exchange picture material. However psychologists already warn of findings about reported feelings of helplessness, aloneness and anxieties.
After FAD now GAD? There seems to be no way out of digital drugs because new tools are on the way. A few weeks ago, Google finally launched its own social network: Google+, which is designed around users’ social circles. You can add interests, organise video chats in groups or share content also via mobile. But if we spent hours on social networking sites such as Facebook, who has still time for a new social platform? Apparently a lot of people have a lot of time – with the new social networks topping 20 million members already. It won’t be long until we’ve all found each other again in this new online room.