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24 May 2018

How to Protect Yourself from Facebook Addiction

Keywords: health, media, survey, Western Europe, physical activity, social media, young adults, youth communication,

With the rise of Facebook, a new sort of addiction is born: the Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD). A study in Computer in Human Behavior reveals that young adults who use Facebook and experience stress also experience more FAD. Surprisingly, a way to protect oneself to this addiction, might be found in physical activity.

Take aways

  • Young adults who experience more symptoms of a Facebook addiction also experience more stress and a lower mental health.
  • However, being active could solve this problem as it serves as a buffer between daily stress and Facebook addiction over the period of one year.
  • For policy makers, teachers and practitioners it is important to know that physical activity can prevent young adults from experiencing symptoms of this kind of media addiction. 

Study information

  • The question?

    Is experiencing daily stress related to a Facebook addiction? And what is the role of being physically active? 

  • Who?

    122 students aged between 17 and 38 (mean age: 22 years; 83% female) completed both surveys. 

  • Where?

    Germany, Europe

  • How?

    In October 2016, young adults who used Facebook filled out the first online questionnaire regarding their daily stress (stress related to family, health, finances, study or job) and physical activity (“How regularly did you engage in physical exercise in the last 12 months?”).
    One year later in October 2017, they again answered questions about their daily stress and physical activity. They also answered questions about symptoms of Facebook addiction disorder over the past year (e.g., “Felt an urge to use Facebook more and more?”) and positive mental health (e.g., “I am a calm, balanced human being”). 

Facts and findings

  • Young adults who experienced symptoms of a Facebook addiction also experienced more stress and had a lower mental health. 
  • However, physical activity had a protective influence: young adults who were physically active experienced less stress and less symptoms of a Facebook addiction. 
  • Critical note: These findings are based on associations and no conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. This means that it can be the case that experiencing symptoms of a Facebook addiction leads to stress and lower mental health, or the other way around.