Could you be addicted to Facebook?
FORT MYERS, Fla. - How do you know when it's time to log out and disconnect from that virtual world?
It's your life on a page. Every move can be instantly shared with a click or a swipe. Time seems to warp when you're on it.
"So, are you always glued to it in some way," asked Fox 4 reporter Gabrielle Sarann to Joann Frazier of Fort Myers. "Yeah, if I can't be in front of the computer, I'm glued to it through my iPhone," she said.
Meet Joann Frazier, 40 years old and a mother of two. She sometimes works from home and spends 10 hours a day on Facebook.
"The more time I spend on it, it's kind of addicting," added Frazier.
The kids are home by 4 o'clock. They tackle homework. Then, it's dinner-time. But all the while, Frazier has Facebook in the background.
"Does it get in the way?" asked Sarann.
"I think it does sometimes because whats really important is them and I probably should shut the computer down and walk away from it," Frazier replied.
Between the site's home page and its new ticker, you can never miss a beat on what your friends are posting, commenting and liking on Facebook. While keeping them updated on your every move.
"It's almost like a riddle," said Angel Vega, 65, of Lehigh Acres. "And you figure well, what is that person trying to say, until you see the other post come up and other people are asking that same question."\
Vega, a retired NYPD officer, also spends about 10 hours a day on Facebook. By 7 a.m., he is logged on, anticipating a connection.
"Sometimes, there's no dots, which means you're the only one on there," said Vega. "And that causes you to just stare at the screen and wait for someone to come on. I think that's where the addiction comes into play."
Vega and his wife live on seven acres in Lehigh. As a reminder of chores to check off, he mounts a board in his garage. From fixing a leak to cleaning the fish pond and changing the air filters. "See, I have the date on there. 9-6-11 so they're pretty much due," explained Vega.
"What do you account for why you haven't gotten these things done?" asked Sarann. "The key words: procrastination and Facebook." Vega said.
According to Facebook, the site has 845 million users with nearly 500 million active each day. So how many Facebook users could be addicts?
"You know you're addicted to Facebook when you absolutely can't live without it," said Tara Moser, the owner of Delta Family Counseling in Cape Coral. "You need to check it constantly. You need to always be aware of what's going on."
Moser sees signs of Facebook addiction in pre-teens through adults. It's also known as internet addiction, a type of obsessive compulsive behavior.
"The harm really comes in the friendships and the family relationships and whatever else is being neglected," explained Moser.
The following are some signs to watch out for: checking the site more than three times a day, logging into it on your computer or smartphone before anything else and substituting Facebook for personal connections.
"We would probably recommend somebody like that find a social group so that you can go get out in the community and find other people that are interested in the same things," suggested Moser.
Not to worry says Frazier. Any family chores she misses while on Facebook are done by her husband, Ryan.
"He kind of helps maybe take care of things so I can go off and be on the computer doing stuff," said Frazier.
And Vega says the interview with Fox 4 made him aware of how much time he wastes typing, commenting and reading other people's pages.
"I will have to cut it down, yeah," admitted Vega. "Would that be difficult?," asked Sarann. "I don't know, I quit smoking. So, if i want to, I can do it," replied Vega.
Another suggestion if you're spending too much time on Facebook, is to quit cold turkey. If you deactivate your account, you may be surprised by how little you miss it and how much more gets accomplished.