Facebookitis and Happy Birthday Mr. Monopoly.

Shawn Magrath

I saw an interesting news report earlier today about Facebook and it’s addicting appeal. Apparently, new studies show that Facebook is as addicting, if not more addicting than tobacco and alcohol. Researchers are pointing to the fact that unlike tobacco and booze, Facebook is free, available almost anyplace at anytime and doesn’t come with the same governmental restrictions and social taboos as other addictive substances.

This brings interesting new questions to the table. What’s the cut-off for Facebookers and how much status updating is too much? What constitutes as Facebook withdrawal? Should there be a Facebook support group (I would say Facebook anonymous if it weren’t an oxymoron it itself)? And my favorite, is this a real problem?

The funny thing about Facebook addiction is that it’s only my generation, generation Y, that’s ever going to make claim to such a dumb addiction. Generation X – now there’s a generation that had real addictions: Sex, drugs and rock and roll – status updates were written in graffiti. Their parents never had to listen to lectures on the seriousness of cyberbullying, though if they did, I’m sure they would have had a blunt solution. “What? Cyber wha… Shut the computer off and go mow the lawn … go chop some firewood!”

As far as whether or not there really is such a thing as a Facebook addict (like big-foot, you don’t really believe in it but don’t want to say it doesn’t exist either), the idea of Facebook addiction easily meets 3 of the 4 symptoms of substance abuse criteria outlined in the DSM IV. Scary, huh? Even our Guru News Crew friends at CNN felt it was worth the time to highlight the seriousness of Facebook addiction in past stories and of course, they have a list of symptoms to convince people that they’re addicted; I’m still waiting for the prescription drug that cures the ailment (and if there really is a market for that, please let me know; I’ll happily invest or be the spokesman).

So, off my Facebook-I-got-a-problem-but-it’s-not-a-real-problem rant, today is the 77th anniversary of the board game Monopoly – a game that maintains a nail-biting excitement matched only by other rousing capitalist board games like The Landlord’s Game and Inflation. In celebration of the milestone, I’m going to start brainstorming ways to actually make the game fun.