Background: There is a growing concern over the addictiveness of Social Media use. Additional representative indicators of impaired control are needed in order to distinguish presumed social media addiction from normal use.
Aims: (1) To examine the existence of time distortion during non-social media use tasks that involve social media cues among those who may be considered at-risk for social media addiction. (2) To examine the usefulness of this distortion for at-risk vs. low/no-risk classification.
Method: We used a task that prevented Facebook use and invoked Facebook reflections (survey on self-control strategies) and subsequently measured estimated vs. actual task completion time. We captured the level of addiction using the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale in the survey, and we used a common cutoff criterion to classify people as at-risk vs. low/no-risk of Facebook addiction.
Results: The at-risk group presented significant upward time estimate bias and the low/no-risk group presented significant downward time estimate bias. The bias was positively correlated with Facebook addiction scores. It was efficacious, especially when combined with self-reported estimates of extent of Facebook use, in classifying people to the two categories.
Conclusions: Our study points to a novel, easy to obtain, and useful marker of at-risk for social media addiction, which may be considered for inclusion in diagnosis tools and procedures.
Keywords: Internet addiction; Social media addiction; Time distortion; Time perception.
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