Over the course of the last 10 years, social networking sites (SNSs) have gained enormous popularity throughout the world. Of all the SNSs available, Facebook stands out as the most popular one boasting of millions of users from all over the world. People are increasingly making use of Facebook to keep in touch. This usage of Facebook has become so pervasive that nowadays, the site is an integral part of the life of many individuals.
These people, especially the youth, are said to spend hours on Facebook a day interacting with their friends. This has led some people to arguing that Facebook is more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. However, I do not think that Facebook can be equated to smoking and drinking. Through this essay, I will propose that Facebook cannot be compared to these issues. I will also demonstrate that Facebook does not have most of the severe consequences associated with other forms of addictions.
How Addictive is Facebook?
Some people spend a significant amount of time interacting through Facebook. Students have been reported to waste time on Facebook at the expense of academic performance. Employees, on the other hand, are known to spend company’s valuable time on the site, therefore lowering their productivity, which leads to an overall reduction in company performance.
As a result of these occurrences, it has been proposed that Facebook is addictive since people appear to be hooked to the site and cannot keep away from it even considering the negative consequences.
Why Facebook is not as Addictive as Cigarettes and Alcohol
For something to qualify as an addiction, there has to be a compulsive dependence on the behavior or substance in question. An addiction implies that a person cannot do without something he or she is addicted to, and when it is missing, he or she may experience withdrawal symptoms or physical and/or mental discomforts.
Cigarette and alcohol addicts suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms and discomforts when they try to leave off their addiction. The same cannot be said for Facebook addicts. While staying away from Facebook may be a major inconvenience to a person, it will not result in any of the withdrawal symptoms or discomforts suffered by cigarette and alcohol addicts.
Cigarette and alcohol addictions have major consequences, and once a person is an addict, he/she requires treatment to save him/her from death due to deteriorated health or possible imprisonment due to misconduct. The consequences that come from the overuse of Facebook are not nearly as severe since it is highly improbable that a person will die from excessive use of the site or be imprisoned on the same grounds.
On the contrary, Facebook plays a positive role in the lives of many of its users. Most of the users of Facebook visit the site with the primary objective of keeping in touch with people with whom they have relationships. Without Facebook, many friendships would fizzle out because of limited communication.
In this article, I have argued that while Facebook is to some extent addictive, it is not as addictive as smoking or drinking. The discussions presented herein have shown that cigarettes and alcohol addictions result in major consequences for the individual. Undoubtedly, there are negative aspects associated with an excessive use of Facebook for an individual. However, it would be an exaggeration to classify Facebook as being as addictive as smoking or drinking.