How to Beat Facebook Addiction

How to recognize and deal with being really hooked

Beating your Facebook addiction will help you give time back to your family.

 Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images 

Facebook addiction isn't an actual medical diagnosis, but when a habit disrupts your ability to function normally, it's at the very least a problem. Spending too much time on Facebook consumes time that might be spent more healthfully and productively on face-to-face interaction, work, hobbies, play, and rest.

Are You Addicted to Facebook?

Tackling any undesirable habit requires self-awareness. To assess whether you have a Facebook addiction, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I often use Facebook even when I know it's not allowed, for example, at the office? 
  • Do I feel driven to post what I'm doing or where I am more often than once a day?
  • Does my attention to Facebook take away time from real-life social interaction (for example, posting photos from a party while at the party)?
  • Do I frequently spend more time on Facebook than I'd planned?
  • Do I stay up late or get up early to read or post?
  • Do I obsess overreactions to my posts, checking frequently for feedback?
  • Do I sometimes live events through my phone's camera, taking and posting photos instead of experiencing what's going on around me?
  • Do I often become embroiled in disputes on Facebook?
  • Am I able to ignore notifications when I need to be doing something else?
  • Do I spend more than two hours on Facebook a day (excluding work-related social media actions such as posting on behalf of your company)?

There are many ways to approach this problem, and what works for others might not work for you. Give these five ideas a shot to find what helps you stop devoting too much time on the world's largest social network.

Keep a Facebook Time Journal

Set a virtual alarm clock on your smartphone or computer every time you click over to look at Facebook. When you stop, check the alarm clock and write down the amount of time you've spent on Facebook. Set a weekly limit (six hours would be plenty), and reward yourself when you come in under that limit—but not with additional Facebook time!

Try Facebook-Blocking Software

Download and install one of the many software programs that limit or block access to Facebook and other internet time-wasters on your computer.

Self Control, for example, is an application for Mac computers that prevents access to particular websites and even email for an amount of time you can specify. Other apps to include ColdTurkey and Facebook Limiter. Most of these programs make it easy to unblock Facebook, too.

Get Help From Your Friends

Ask someone you trust to set a new password for your Facebook account and promise to hide it for a week or two. This method might be low-tech, but it's cheap, easy, and it's effective if you have good friends.

Deactivate Facebook

If none of the above helps, then sign into Facebook and temporarily suspend or deactivate your Facebook account:

  1. Open the Menu by clicking the down arrow in the upper right corner of the Facebook page. 
  2. Click Settings
  3. Under General Account Settings, click Manage Account.​
  4. Click Deactivate Account to suspend your Facebook account until you're ready to return.

This one requires self-control because all you have to do to reactivate your Facebook is sign back in. But it gives you a much-needed break from Facebook to help you kick the habit without deleting it from your life completely.

Delete Your Facebook Account

If all else fails, go for the nuclear option and delete your account. Nobody will be notified, and no one will be able to see your info anymore, even though it may take Facebook up to 90 days to completely delete all your information.

Some may see deleting your Facebook account as the equivalent of social suicide, but that's a little melodramatic. For some, deleting a Facebook account actually removes an enormous weight and source of anxiety from their lives, breathing new life into their neglected real life.

Save Your Posts and Pictures Before Deleting

Before you delete, decide if you'd like to save your profile information, posts, photos, and other items you've posted. Facebook gives you the option to download an archive of your account:

  1. Open the Menu by clicking the down arrow in the upper right corner of the Facebook page. 
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Your Facebook Information in the lefthand menu.
  4. Click Download Your Information. You will be offered the option to download everything or select just what you want to save.

Steps to Delete Your Facebook Account

  1. Open the Menu by clicking the down arrow in the upper right corner of the Facebook page. 
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Your Facebook Information in the lefthand menu.
  4. Click Delete Your Account and Information.
  5. You'll be offered the options to save your account information and to deactivate your account instead of deleting it your account. To proceed with the deletion of your account, click Delete Account.

Once you delete your Facebook account, you won't be able to retrieve it or the information it contained. However, you will be free from your Facebook addiction!