Facebook-Cigarette Comparison Sparked Again

By David Cohen 

The comparison of Facebook addition to cigarette addiction surfaced again, this time from Nantes, France, and Damien Fournier, author of blog The 1440 Minutes, which focuses on the 1,440 minutes in each 24-hour day.

Fournier wrote:

Facebook users spend an average of 12 minutes each day updating Facebook. Just 12 minutes a day seems like nothing out of the 1,440 we have available each day. But that daily addiction will cut the same amount of time from your life that scientists say you would lose due to a smoking habit, and it builds up to do some serious long-term damage, eating weeks and months out of your life.

When you do the math, it is shocking how much time you lose from your life by updating Facebook. And 12 minutes is a conservative estimate: Other studies go as high as 32 minutes per day, per user, which can mean you are losing around 3 percent to 4 percent of your waking life to this addiction — similar to the life-expectancy reduction connected with a pack of cigarettes. In the same amount of time, you could do dozens of things that have a much greater, more positive impact on your life, such as cooking, reading, learning, brainstorming new ideas, creating adventure plans, drawing, building mind-maps, making career plans, get productive work done, do physical exercise, or even real physical networking.

He outlined the following similarities between addiction to Facebook and addiction to cigarettes:

  • You think you are doing something productive, when clearly you are not.
  • You think it is hard to quit or reduce, when in fact it is not.
  • You think your life will be less fun without it, when a different world will open to you.
  • You think it is harmless, when in fact it greatly impacts your productivity, concentration, self-esteem, and well-being.
  • You think it is cool, when in fact it is not.

So how should the Facebook-addicted wean themselves off the social network? Fournier provided a five-step program:

  1. Tell friends you are reducing Facebook.
  2. Start with a 24 hour blackout.
  3. Encourage friends to join you.
  4. Set the date and stick to it.
  5. Measure the impact on your life.

Readers: Do you think comparing addiction to Facebook with addiction to cigarettes is a bit of a stretch, or do you agree with Fournier?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.