Why is Facebook worse than TV?

I was just reading “Five Clues That You Are Addicted to Facebook” on cnn.com and it occured to me that Facebook should really be considered in the same light as television.

The 5 warning signs are:

  1. You lose sleep over Facebook
  2. You spend more than an hour a day on Facebook
  3. You become obsessed with old loves
  4. You ignore work in favor of Facebook
  5. The thought of getting off Facebook leaves you in a cold sweat

What I find surprising is that 3 of these 5 are probably true of most perfectly normal people who watch TV. I happen to watch basically no TV at all, so I have a different perspective than most people; but, I want to keep it balanced in this blog. Substitute “TV” for “Facebook” in this article and see what happens.

When they say “lose sleep over Facebook” they go on to say “stay up late doing facebook and wake up tired the next day.” Perfectly normal people have TVs in their bedrooms and stay up later than they should watching it. Sometimes they come in tired the next day. Is this a sign of TV addiction? Or is this just a bad indicator of addiction?

Don’t most perfectly normal people watch more than an hour of TV a day? More than an hour of Facebook is considered some kind of addiction indicator, but an hour of TV is just fine? I don’t get it.

You become obsessed with old loves. The article goes on to cite an example of gossiping online. You could gossip at work, too, and end up in the same predicament. I’m not sure that this has anything to do with Facebook.

You ignore work in favor of Facebook. Hmm. Most people can’t ignore work in favor of TV, so we’ll have to let this slide.

The thought of leaving Facebook leaves you in a cold sweat, huh? Ask people to give up their televisions. While “cold sweat” might be a bit of an exaggeration, your average watch-an-hour-a-day person is not going to part quickly with their television. Again, is this really a sign of addiction? If so, are we benignly addicted to TV and everyone’s cool with it?

This story leads off with a sad tale of a mom obsessively using Facebook while ignoring her kid’s need for help with homework. Doesn’t this happen with TV? “Sure honey, I’ll help with your homework right after the news is over”" Is this OK? This is somehow different?

I think TV and Facebook are equivalent. They can be abused, or not. I think the addiction “symptoms” cited in this article are absurd because they can be applied to a lot of our lifestyle behaviors.

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