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There was apprehension at the station as the word had got around that Facebook Free February was a movement bound to cause resound.

OK that’s the extent of my school poetry prowess but the simple fact is that Facebook has been banned for February to allow Status Whores (addicts who continually post) to stop marking their territory (trying to dominate the posts), to stop Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V (copy and paste), take some time out and smell the roses, spend it with the kids and stop living vicariously through their frenemies.

Upfront I will admit that I don’t have a Facebook page and I urge sensible people to do the same, if only to avoid embarrassing photos of drunken or lascivious behaviour ending up in plain sight.

Those I know who embrace Facebook are addicted – my grown up daughter for one must check it several times a day and seems to delight in letting the family know ad nauseam what her brother and friends are doing “Dad did you know Fred (thirteenth cousin removed) was drunk last night”.

Internet addiction expert Dr Philip Tam (doctor and co-founder of the Network for Internet Investigation and Research Australia) said Facebook-Free February was a symptom of more people becoming "unhealthily obsessed" with social media. "The whole set-up of social media invites compulsive behaviour, you get so desperate to get feedback and once you're trapped in this cycle it's often very hard to extricate yourself," he said. "That's one reason why people are probably feeling the need to formalise this concept of a detox month."

Credit where it is due

Brisbane student and part-time worker Jenny King, 49, came up with the idea after becoming disillusioned with the social network, and was surprised to discover she wasn't the only one.

"I was thinking of Dry July and Movember and I sort of came up with 'Facebook-Free February' but obviously lots of other people had the same idea," she said.

"I want to reclaim my life, I feel like Mr Facebook is creeping in and trying to suck me into his vortex and I just want to say I don't need it. They keep putting ads on there, and there's been all these changes to privacy settings, and it just makes me nervous ... so I'm going to have a month off and see if I really miss it.

And what to do in case of withdrawals?

Dr Tam said going cold turkey wasn't necessarily the best way to treat a Facebook addiction. "I might make the analogy with crash dieting in that clearly excessively using social media is fulfilling a need and if you suddenly stop it, it's going to come back later," he said.

"You have to analyse the underlying issues of why you need to depend on it so much, for which I'd recommend some self-refection first of all and possibly professional help if they think they've got an issue. It's all about balance."

And if you really want to remove your Facebook account see instructions here.

 

Opinion:

I don’t have Facebook so I don’t know what this addictive behaviour is all about and I won’t know if I am defriended or slagged – don’t care really.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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