My Friend is Addicted to Facebook

My friend got Facebook to keep up with her college updates, as is usually necessary. I warned her about using the app and she proceeded. Now she is on her phone constantly. She does not pay attention in class and she no longer participates in conversations fully. When she does, she is either showing me a meme or a animal video, or looking up from her phone saying, “huh”.

Me and our other friends have brought this up to her multiple times with no result. We do not know what to do. Obviously, she is in charge of her own actions and she can do whatever she wants, but is there anything I can do to help her at this point? Any advice?

3 Likes

@Siddhi thanks for posting about this. How sad really…

I would say if this happens while you are with her just walk away if you can… If she is your best friend- tell her she may not realize the impact of her behavior- tell her how you feel. The problem with screen addiction is people can’t see what this does other people around them cause they are staring at their screen.

& Hang out with people who value your time and you as a person… @ hopefully this friend may flame out on this behavior after she get’s bored with it.

2 Likes

Thanks. It was interesting but sad to watch real time how technology addiction can progress. I hope she gets bored of it.

1 Like

@Siddhi in the teen years there is a lot of trying on new things- so that is the good thing- though bad habits can form too… keep us updated on how this goes.

1 Like

It’s a tough one. Like other addictions, it affects our relationships. If you look at addiction literature (“the program,” 12 Steps, AA, etc), that relationship component is a huge factor.

Being in denial about our own addictions is made possible partly by other people “enabling” our behavior. Telling people that their behavior affects us and strengthening our own boundaries can be helpful in the long term (for us and for the addict).

I remember my first mobile phone addict friend. She was an early Crackberry adopter. We’d both been online a long time, she about five years longer than most normal humans, I about ten years longer. But she wouldn’t put that freaking Blackberry down, like going out to dinner. At the time it seemed freakish and pathetic. Now everyone does it!

2 Likes

This is tough. First of all, it doesn’t help to judge her for it. To make her feel guilty or to berate her for phone use is not helpful. Second, just because she’s doing a lot of screen time, doesn’t mean she’s necessarily an “addict”. Addict is a strong word. The question is really how she’s using that time, what she’s using facebook for, etc.

There’s no easy solution, but if it really feels like there’s a problem here, it can help to refuse to speak with her while she’s looking at her phone. If she tries to do this to you, just stop talking, or say something like “I’ll wait 'till you’re done.” Also, it can help to inform her of your own feelings. Tell her how it makes you feel to see her do that. Tell her stories about your own realizations, “I used to be on facebook all the time, but at some point i realized ____ and now I feel ____”

You can also try prompting her on how it makes her feel. Asking her open-ended questions. Is it really a problem? Maybe there’s no problem. Or maybe it’s related to another problem, i.e. she’s escaping into her phone because she’s taking the wrong classes and bored out of her skull, or because she’s feeling sad/anxious/depressed.

Other useful prompts: does she ever regret using it? At the end of a session, the end of a day, or the end of a week, does she feel guilty about how much time she’s spending there? If so, getting her to notice that herself can help.

Just some thoughts - hope they’re helpful :slight_smile:

5 Likes

Sometimes you have to think the mess created by social media and others like addiction created with the sophisticated inputs from experts (psychologist etc.) are now the main responsibility of the users to clean it up and find ways to find answers to the problem. I don’t think there will be substantial change soon with their business dependent on ads and maximum attention of their users.

I agree that addiction may not have been the correct word choice. Also to clarify, this has been going in for around 2 months. We have spoken to her about it many times, but it does not seem to bother her.

Thanks for sharing this Siddhi, I think that many of us by now have at least one friend in our circle who is often not present with us because of their excessive use of technology.

Like others have said, there is no 1 right answer for this and no 1 right way of approaching the problem, but one way in might be to get your friend talking about her emotional and mental well-being.

It’s highly unlikely that she is happy with the situation she is in, having her attention splintered between the real world around her (the one occupied by yourself and her other friends and family) and the one that exists on Facebook. She is likely to be feeling frustration, anxiety and overwhelm, a bit like being a hamster running in a wheel.

I never reached the levels that you friend seems to have, but for a while I was also trapped between keeping in touch with friends on Facebook who were in another country, and trying to actually be present for the friends that were there with me. And the point at which I realized I simply had to make a choice was when I realized I spent most of my time feeling as though I wasn’t really anywhere, because I was trying to be everywhere.

If you can get her talking about how she feels in the moment and over these past 2 months, then perhaps you can get her to start thinking in the direction of how she can take better care of her emotional and mental well-being. How she can manage her tech use so that she just simply feels better.

Keep us posted!
Teodora

4 Likes

I would like to share the Center for Internet Addiction measures to adopt in case of Facebook addiction.

Signs

  1. Share to much content. This is a sign that you think and plan too much about the activities you will be doing on Facebook.

  2. You feel the need to use Facebook more and more. You often check for updates even knowing that there is none whatsoever.

  3. You feel uneasy or worried when you cannot or when you are forbidden to use Facebook. This is a kind of withdrawal symptoms.

  4. You make such an excessive use of Facebook that it is having a negative effect on your friendships or social relationships.You prefer to meet your social needs through the screen than face to face.

Other studies point out the negative consequences on daily life both at work, studies or homework, loss of control, mood swings, abstinence. In this sense Facebook can serve as distraction and excuse of not doing something.

Treatment.

  1. Admit that there is a problem, Necessary step to start taking action.

  2. Disable all notifications.Avoid the temptation to constantly check Facebook.

  3. Change and limit the hours of access to Facebook. Example reducing the use of the social media to twice a day.

Reducing the hours spent will give the person the alternatives to socialize and communicate outside the screen.

2 Likes

This is a great idea. Model the behavior you want to see in your community. Ask her how she is doing, maybe gently suggest you both put your phones on the table stacked together and look her in the eye- say how are YOU doing? If she doesn’t know, tell her you hope she is well… ask her about her activities or schoolwork etc… or her plans for next year. Try to catchup without calling her out on the phone thing- but insist you want to talk to HER.

2 Likes

@siddhi, this tale of Krishna may help you understand your friend–and help your friend understand the universe she is lost in.

And the Lord who had become a human child out of sport, without any loss of His divine powers, now opened His rosebud mouth. [His mother] bent forward to peer more closely and lo! she felt herself to be whirling in space, lost in time, for inside the baby mouth was seen the whole universe of moving and unmoving creation, the earth and its mountains and oceans, the moon and the stars, and all the planets and regions. She was wonderstruck to see the land of Vraja and the village of Gokula, herself standing there with the child Krishna beside her with a wide-open mouth, and within that mouth another universe, and so on and on and on.

3 Likes

Well… this seems like a case of the Phone Zombie, so I’ll bring up that awareness campaign we defined:

1 Like

You are so right! I will make an instagram post relating to this soon!

1 Like

Hi Siddhi, I am only joining this interesting conversation now ;

However it is deeply in the topic I care about .
I am a proud believer that the Online World is the ultimate communication tool and the key to reconnect us (ie humanity) on an universal level ; however developing our own online/ offline balance is really important to navigate our 21st online century desire for connections!! ;
The first step for your friend is awareness ; as per others suggested in the thread you can help her gently to realise if her behaviour is not " costing" her some enjoyable offline times too? what does she like soo much about being online ?
I bet it is the constant interactions…
Then she needs to be willing to change! and have knowledge of how it can affect her in the long term if she was to become addicted (in the sense of no longer eating/ sleeping and staying on her phone instead) ;
Talking about phone zombies too i did a podcast on this and how tragically it can affect you especially if a phone zombie driver meets a phone zombie pedestrian…

Anyhow , happy to send you more info on my online/offline balance tips if required!

Audz

Thank you so much for you advice! I am not perfect either, of course, and would love more tips on online/offline balance!

Hi,

I am so sorry that you are watching your friend progress into addiction to technology. I watched a family member struggle with gaming addiction for years and it took a massive toll on our relationship/family.

https://www.netaddictionrecovery.com/

This is a site for a tech addiction rehabilitation group, there might be some useful resources on there for you and your friend. There is a quiz on there as well about internet addiction, if you can find a way to pose it to her I would encourage that she take it (it might make her realize how much time she is actually spending on her phone!).

1 Like

Hi,

I’m sorry to hear your friend has fallen into the Facebook trap. Based on what you’ve written, I’d say that one thing you might do is express how much you miss her and that you are concerned for her wellbeing. As I’m sure you can imagine, the hard part is doing this well – it can be very hard to reach people at times.

It seems to me that the real trick is to understand how your friend experiences and sees herself. If you can approach her from her own vantage point, so to speak, she may unstick herself, or make her relationship to her screen more manageable.

If you can present the question without judgment of any answer she might give, maybe you could ask her how she feels about her relationship to social media / “the screen.”

Maybe she doesn’t see it as a problem, which might mean that she feels disconnected from people when they try to convince her that it is. Or, maybe she recognizes it as an issue, but doesn’t know how to stop herself. Maybe she’s going through something else entirely unrelated.

One way to present the question neutrally is to establish a climate of so-called “psychological safety,” where any expression of any feeling isn’t judged, but observed. Anyone can practice this sort of thing.

Are you familiar with Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s approach to interpersonal communication? If you aren’t I recommend watching one of his workshops, and practicing to a point you can drop the specific scaffolding language he suggests. I don’t necessarily recommend using the language he suggests as a formula, only that doing so can help with the things I’ve mentioned above.

Hope this helps!

1 Like

Thank you all for your responses. I am considering all of your feedback very carefully. I have talked to her multiple times about how I am worried about her well being. I am going to revise my previous statement of saying she is “addicted” to technology because that word is heavier than I feel the situation requires (though she is headed there and I am keeping an eye on her). She is going to college and in an FB group for it. I think she is using FB to distance herself from her current life, and building a fantasy life/ romanticised vision of what her college life will be like. Thus she is not “in the moment”. Do not get me wrong, I have projections about what college life will be like too. However, I am not constantly absorbed in the as she seems to be, especially with this Facebook group drawing her back every time. I am nervous for her now, but I’m more nervous about what will happen if her vision is shattered. This is an important discussion to have. Especially about the “alternate reality” that social media creates.

2 Likes

Hello, thanks for posting this article.

Social Media is growing day by day. Social platforms help you connect with your customers, increase awareness about your brand, and boost your leads and sales. With more than three billion people around the world using social media every month, it’s no passing trend.

If your friend is addicted to FB make sure he uses FB in a right manner. Because its difficult to stop.