Can We Trust the Gospels?

Recent Posts

Past Posts Archived by Date

Search this site


Search this site


« Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling | Home | Addicted to Facebook? Part 2 »

Addicted to Facebook?

By Mark D. Roberts | Monday, September 14, 2009

Here are some excerpts from a new release that we just published by Gordon College, an evangelical Christian college in Massachusetts:

When they’re not sending text messages or tweets, today’s Christian college students are spending time on Facebook. A lot of it. One in every three says he’s spending 1-2 hours a day on the site; twelve percent report using it 2-4 hours each day and 2.8 percent report usage at 4-7 hours a day. That’s in addition to other forms of social media and electronic usage such as video games, blogs, e-mail and Internet browsing. . . .

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 Auday. “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.”

Over half  (54 percent) reported that they were “neglecting important areas of their life” due to spending too much time on these sites. And when asked if one were to define addiction as “any behavior you cannot stop, regardless of the consequences,” 12.7 percent affirmed that they believe they are addicted to some form of electronic activity. Another 8.7 percent report that they are unsure. For small campuses, that translates into large numbers. And 21 percent felt that their level of engagement with electronic activities at times caused a conflict with their Christian values.

So, what do you think? Is there such a thing as a Facebook addiction? If so, it is wrong (morally, psychologically, spiritually)? If so, what makes it wrong? How can we know if our use of Facebook (and related media) is problematic, even an unhealthy addiction?

Topics: Internet |

6 Responses to “Addicted to Facebook?”

  1. Thomas Buck Says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 3:09 am

    The rest of my family is involved in Facebook one way or another. I refuse. I’m already spending a lot of time on the internet. I don’t need one more thing.


  2. Thomas Buck Says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 3:10 am

    P.S.: Same goes for Twitter and MySpace.

  3. Jeff Says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 4:10 am

    How can we know if our use of Facebook (and related media) is problematic, even an unhealthy addiction? When I get fanny fatigue for sitting in my office chair because I have been blogging and visiting Facebook to long!

  4. Michael Says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 5:56 am

    I love (hate?) how eager some seem to explore whether or not it’s “wrong” to use these tools to connect to people.

    I’m not saying it can’t be or isn’t unhealthy to be on Facebook for 7 hours a day. I imagine that many who become enthralled in World of Warcraft could regret it years later when they realize that all those pixels they killed are meaningless.

    But even in WoW you may meet friends and have memorable times of camaraderie. A kind of camaraderie that I would contend is identical in quality to that of golfing buddies or book clubs, physical exercise differences aside.

    I’m fine hearing critiques of how someone might be missing out on something good by gluing their faces to the screen. However, the internet as it is accessed from phones, netbooks, and computers everywhere IS the new telephone, tv, book, directory, theatre, and so many other things. It’s a train that has left the station and I think for Christians the question isn’t whether or not to get on the train, but on learning how to “be all things to all people” and utilize what is there.

    The legalists love to speculate on how “wrong” it is. I think adults are perpetually in a process of looking at what teenagers are doing and trying to decide how wrong it is. They are wonderfully blind to their own versions of it all (past and present).

    I like the GK Chesterton quote about generation gaps:

    “I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid.”

  5. Jennie Says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 11:18 am

    “moderation in all things” is a motto that works almost all the time. facebook and other media connection is not an exception.

  6. Bruce Edwards Says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    The phrase “neglecting important areas of their life” in the press release is telling. It is assuming that there is something separable called “their life” that FACEBOOK use is impinging upon. it’s already “in” their lives. . . and the question becomes how does that fact enhance or detract from how they want their lives to be?

    The digital-”real life” dichotomy follows the same Sacred/Secular split Christians (esp. evangelicals, of which i am one) are forced to posit.

    As a distance educator who monitors these matters, i would suggest it is a blind alley to separate FACEBOOK (fill in the blank: rock and roll, baseball, quiet time, navel gazing, lecturing, drive-in hopping. . .) from “real life” as if that is not already mediated and qualified by dozens of actions, activities, relationships?

    This is more than a surface level topic and I hope Gordon reflects on this deeply (I had several outstanding Gordon students at Daystar University in Kenya).

    –Bruce Edwards, Bowling Green State University


Thanks for your willingness to make a comment. Note: I do not moderate comments before they are posted, though they are automatically screened for profanities, spam, etc., and sometimes the screening program holds comments for moderation even though they're not offensive. I encourage open dialogue and serious disagreement, and am always willing to learn from my mistakes. I will not delete comments unless they are extraordinarily rude or irrelevant to the topic at hand. You do need to login in order to make a comment, because this cuts down on spam. You are free to use a nickname if you wish. Finally, I will eventually read all comments, but I don't have the time to respond to them on a consistent basis because I've got a few other demands on my time, like my "day job," my family, sleep, etc.

You must be logged in to post a comment.