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Gambling addiction is one of the toughest diseases in the world to treat, and now Scottish researchers have suggested that Facebook users could fall into a similar pattern of addiction. A study was done on college students in Scotland, and the results were alarming.
“Like anything else, you have to maintain,” said Dr. Scott Bea. “The more you have of it, the more difficult it’s going to be, the more anxiety it’s going to provoke….If you walk away, you’re afraid that some jackpot might occur while your gone.”
The researchers concluded that much like gambling, Facebook provides the atmosphere where it is tough for users to walk away. The fear of missing something, much like the gamblers fear of missing out on a jackpot, is very real to Facebook users. It is that fear that creates unnecessary anxiety.
The study was conducted on a group of college students, and it concluded that the Facebook users that put the most time into building their network, came away unsatisfied. That need to constantly build their network and advance their social stature can lead to addictive behavior.
Facebook has generally been considered a positive aspect of human interaction since its inception, but the more people have become reliant on the site, the more research is being done to detect the possible negative effects. Addiction is obviously one of the negative effects that have researchers concerned.
It is not yet known whether Facebook will be tied in any way into the upcoming Problem Gambling Awareness Week in the US. During the week, many states will be bringing information to their residents regarding the dangerous effects of problem gambling.
Not only is Facebook itself causing concern, but also the applications that can be enjoyed on the social network. FarmVille and Mafia Wars are two of the games that are played religiously by millions of Facebook users. These games can, and have, lead to addiction, much like video games. and the fact that gamers can spend money to improve their standing in these games makes the applications even more dangerous.