Jump directly to the content

Addicted ... to Facebook


Oct 22 2009
A new study suggests negative consequences from the rising social media use on Christian college campuses.

Updating their status. Posting pictures. Checking out the news feeds of their friends. It's all in a day's work for today's college students.

One-third of Christian college students spend 1-2 hours a day on Facebook, according to a new study from Gordon College professors. Twelve percent use Facebook for 2-4 hours each day, and 2.8 percent report using it from 4-7 hours a day. This is in addition to the time they spend on other forms of electronic media, such as blogs, Twitter, and the internet. And it doesn't even count the time they spend texting, talking, or using applications on their cell phones.

More than half of the students reported they were "neglecting important areas of their life" because they were spending too much time online. And when given the definition of addiction as "any behavior you cannot stop, regardless of the consequences," more than 10 percent said they believed they were in fact addicted to some form of electronic activity.

I teach several classes at a local Christian college, and I'm not surprised. Students text friends under the table during a lecture or class discussion. They post pictures, make plans with friends, begin and end romances on the internet. One student even dropped my class after I told her she wouldn't be allowed to bring her laptop along.

And I understand. I have my own Facebook account, multiple e-mail addresses, and a cell phone, all of which suck up my time. Controlling the amount of time I spend with social media is difficult for me, and I went to college when e-mail was fairly new. I can't imagine how much more difficult it is for students who are familiar with even more and better forms of technology.

"It isn't yet clear whether over-zealous use of computer-based activities will be formally accepted in the U.S. as a distinctive, unique form of addiction," said Bryan C. Auday, professor of psychology and one of the study's authors. "What is clear from our study is that a surprisingly high percentage of Christian students who frequently engage in electronic activities report several troubling negative consequences. But ironically they also mention many positive outcomes related to the time that is spent on Facebook or text messaging their friends."

Last Lent, I joined with many students on my campus in a Facebook fast. For 40 days, I didn't share how my day was going or check to see what my old college friends were doing for the weekend. Did I notice that I had more time to spend on worthwhile things? Absolutely. I had time to read, to talk to my husband, to play with my son, to read books for fun, to write, to think.

Related Topics:Facebook; Internet; Technology

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
The Missing Voice in the Adoption Conversation

The Missing Voice in the Adoption Conversation

How our language would change if we heard more from adoptees.
The Benefits of Having Other People Raise Your Kids

The Benefits of Having Other People Raise Your Kids

Why doing it all alone isn’t the best (or most biblical) parenting strategy.
What to Do When You Don’t Know a Family’s Immigration Status

What to Do When You Don’t Know a Family’s Immigration Status

Amid the confusion over immigration laws, here are five things you should know.
Christine Caine: Would God Give Me Ministry and Marriage?

Christine Caine: Would God Give Me Ministry and Marriage?

How God multiplies our loves and passions.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

Not All Vulnerability Is Brave

We don’t have to expose our deepest secrets with every speech and blog post.

What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
Addicted ... to Facebook