Women say they're increasingly addicted to Facebook

Study shows some women will get up in middle of the night to check social networking sites

As if chocolate wasn't addictive enough, a majority of women who use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter say they re addicted to them, according to a survey.

More than half (57%) of the women polled said they communicate with people more online than they do face to face, and 39% people called themselves Facebook addicts, according to a report from The Oxygen Media Insights Group, which is part of a company that focuses on television channels and online sites for women. And 34% of those between 18 and 34 said checking Facebook is the first thing they do in the morning even before brushing their teeth or using the bathroom.

Oxygen Media commissioned Lightspeed Research to do the survey, which polled more than 1,600 social media users between the ages of 18 and 54.

Even more surprising is the 26% of women 18 to 34 who get up in the middle of the night to read text messages and the 21% who confessed to checking Facebook during the night, the report noted.

According to the survey, 31% of those polled said they are more confident about their online personas than they are about their real-life selves. Nineteen percent said they ve gotten into arguments with loved ones about how much time they spend using their cell phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants).

A full 37% of women between the ages of 18 and 34 reported falling asleep with their PDA in their hands.

This study echoes a poll of 1,000 Americans released in March which showed that many people appear to be obsessed with trading information with their friends, family and co-workers.

The study by Retrevo Inc., a consumer electronics shopping and review site, showed that 48% of those polled say they update Facebook or Twitter during the night or as soon as they wake up. It also found that 19% of people under the age of 25 say they update Facebook or Twitter anytime they wake up during the night.

A report earlier this year from the University of Leeds in the U.K. noted that people who spend significant time online are far more likely to suffer symptoms of depression . When people begin to substitute real-life, face-to-face interaction with online conversations in chat rooms and on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, there's often "a serious impact on [their] mental health," the study found.

In the Oxygen Media study, 42% of women reported that they think it's OK to post photos of themselves visibly intoxicated, while 63% of them say they use Facebook as a career networking tool.

The study also noted that while only 44% of women 18 to 34 trust Facebook with their private information, 56% of Twitter users think it's OK to tweet their current location.

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
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