A friend of mine is obsessed with Facebook and is online all the time. The lines between cyberspace and reality seem blurred for her. Is she addicted? What can she do to break it?

Facebook has many benefits that include connecting with old friends, making new ones, promoting a business and branding. However, there’s also a downside. Social networking sites reek of “look at me” and users may be driven by their insecurities and narcissism. These sites provide users the dubious validation that their lives are important. Know the difference between an online and real-life friend and ask yourself the true reason for posting. If it’s to engage in social interaction, then make direct contact, or use the telephone. If you knew you weren’t going to get a comment on a posting, would you still put up such minutiae?

The larger issue of being online “all the time” is a problem if it interferes with major areas of one’s life: career, relationships, health, and finances. Excessive use may serve as a gross distraction from reality and an escape from stress.

– Jonathan Alpert is a licensed psychotherapist. E-mail him your questions at jonathan@jonathanalpert.com


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