Mark D. Roberts

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?

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