Our Not So Strange Addiciton

Graphic by Ansley

Senior Isabella left Facebook to help her through senior year.

But the Facebook fast didn’t even last for half the year.

So got a Facebook account the summer following her eighth grade year but found it distracted her from her studies.

“I was very much addicted to Facebook. I probably spent an average of two hours, maybe an hour and a half each day on it,” Isabella said. “I used it more the longer I had it because more people kept joining and joining.”

This went on for three years until she deactivated it last August to help her “focus on college apps, especially because senior year is your last chance to make the grades that you want,” Isabella explained, and she has seen an improvement in her grades and productivity.

“I think that if you’re struggling maintaining the balance of all the school loads and sports, just taking one factor away that eats up two hours of each day— it makes your day so much more free and more relaxing,” Isabella said. “I think it’s a good change.”

She reactivated her Facebook on Dec. 15, the day many early decisions from colleges came out, because even though “I wasn’t done [with college apps] when I first reactivated it… I felt so disconnected from my peers and people were congratulating each other in the hall and I had no idea why. I just wanted to be in the know.”

Fellow senior Abigail’s path to Facebook was the reverse of Isabella’s. She didn’t create an account until the June before her senior year after she returned from a summer program in South Korea.

“I wanted a way to communicate with people there and I wouldn’t be able to call or text. I used Facebook to do it and I just continued having it,” Abigail said.

Facebook has a way of drawing people in, of keeping them connected not only to family and friends but also the website itself. In fact, according to the New York Times, in 2011 Facebook had 200 million active users in the United States, which is roughly two-thirds of its population.

But not everyone is a Facebook addict.

“I could live without my Facebook. It’s nice to be able to see pictures and easy to use, but everything that’s actually important you can find elsewhere,” Abigail said. “I felt like it was good thing I got my Facebook late because I’m not addicted and I don’t always have to check and I don’t depend on it.”

Freshman Isabel, who got a Facebook last November, said that getting a Facebook late was helpful because she had less time to get addicted to it; most of her friends already had a Facebook and were on it constantly.

“I don’t think that I am addicted to Facebook…I think that getting it later when I was in Upper School helped,” Isabel said. “But it just really depends on the person.”

Avoiding Facebook for as long as possible is not the only way to avoid addiction.      “I really think that taking a break from Facebook was really good for me, it helped my grades a lot,” Isabella said. “And now I realized how nice it is to be oblivious to everything and not care about things happening on Facebook. They’re just distractions from other more important things.”

– Courtney