Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) is a term introduced by US phychologists for those who are addicted to facebook and their life is really effected by their uncontrolled activities on Facebook. According to US psychologists the number of patients suffering from FAD are increasing.
Not only US but also millions of South Africans may also be at risk as they search for long-lost friends and relatives, share photo albums and stay abreast of gossip.
Lynlee Howard-Payne, a psychology lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand, said: “While there are no official statistics available regarding South Africans who have been diagnosed as having or being treated for FAD, based on the large number of universities, schools and companies blocking access to Facebook … there could very well be an uncontrolled dependence.”
Howard-Payne added: “Universities, schools and companies are forced to limit accessibility to Facebook because some people seem to be unable to perform other tasks if they have access to this online social network. While Facebook is often a great way of maintaining both social and professional relationships, it seems to take on a destructive force with certain personalities.”
After US psychologists began their probe into FAD, millions of Facebook users – there are an estimated 350 million around the world – have admitted to being addicted.
More than 500 groups for addicts have been created on Facebook, where members joke about their dependence on the site.
Howard-Payne said if addicts chose to join a support group, it should not be on Facebook.
She said: “Addictive use of the Internet is a new phenomenon which many practitioners are unaware of and, subsequently, unprepared to treat. Use of Facebook is often a legitimate way of social networking, so abstinence may not be seen as a practical intervention thus it is recommended that there be moderation and controlled use.”