NBC Universal’s Oxygen Media recently conducted a survey asking 1,605 young women well versed and deeply immersed in social media about their habits with Facebook, Twitter and other such services. Of the women surveyed, 34 percent stated that they check Facebook literally first thing in the morning, before going to brush their teeth. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed self-identify as “Facebook addicts” (whatever that means). And many seem to have a constant need to be connected, with 26 percent stating they’ve woken up in the middle of the night to respond to texts and 37 percent stating that they’ve fallen asleep with a PDA in their hands.
The study showed a split between those who understand the possible negative implications associated with a complete disclosure using social media and those that did not. For example, 43 percent say they have no problem posting photos of their drunken selves on the site, while 32 percent have no issue posting photos of themselves or their friends making lewd and obscene gestures. Fifty-eight percent of those polled use Facebook to track their ‘frenemies’ (people they are ‘friends’ with on the site but do not like in real life) and 50 percent are happy being Facebook ‘friends’ with complete strangers.
On the other hand, a larger portion understood the possible issues. Of those users surveyed, 54 percent don’t put private information on Facebook, 72 percent affirm that once you post it on Facebook, its public forever, and 89 percent say that you shouldn’t put anything you don’t want your parents to see on Facebook.
Before all the angry rebuttals start, let me say that I find that the term “addicted” is often thrown around too loosely in the media to sensationalize reports and in my experience may be considered a badge of courage for many young adults regardless of how accurate the term represents their actual behavior. Also, I am not sure why young women are singled out in this and not young men. I’m sure there are reports that can point to web sites that young men are “addicted” to visiting.
Clearly this report is concerning on many levels. Anyone who has a teenager will mostly likely relate to the addictive potential of texting and social media. I still get angry when my teenage son texts while I am talking to him during dinner. But regardless of how upsetting this is to read, the more important questions are: have you seen evidence that supports this, do you agree that this is a problem and have you found ways to reduce the possible negative implications?