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The vast majority of people who are online use social media, often for hours a day. For most, there is no problem. For others, it crosses the line into addiction. When does normal connectivity become a problem?

One way to measure is the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (originally designed for Facebook but since generalized for all social media). It's a short survey used in psychological research that has been widely accepted by the psychology community. It's quick and something you can take yourself.

Here are six statements to consider. For each, answer: (1) very rarely, (2) rarely, (3) sometimes, (4) often, or (5) very often.

  1. You spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning how to use it.
  2. You feel an urge to use social media more and more.
  3. You use social media in order to forget about personal problems.
  4. You have tried to cut down on the use of social media without success.
  5. You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using social media.
  6. You use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.

If you scored a 4 or 5 ("often" or "very often") on at least 4 of those statements, it could be an indicator of social media addiction. 

Interesting side note: Scoring higher on this scale was correlated with later bedtimes and wake-up times. Whether that means night owls are more likely to be addicted or addiction keeps people up late is something for future research...

References

Andreassen, C. S., Torsheim, T., Brunborg, G. S., & Pallesen, S. (2012). Development of a Facebook addiction scale. Psychological reports, 110(2), 501-517.  

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