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Web users at risk of social networking addiction

48% check Facebook or Twitter at night or first thing in morning

Web users are at risk of becoming addicted to social networking sites, says Retrevo.

Andrew Eisner, Retrevo's director of Community and Content, noted in a blog that the recent survey of 1,000 web users showed that many people appear to be obsessed with trading information with their friends, family and co-workers.

The Retrevo Gadgetology study shows that 48 percent of those polled say they update Facebook or Twitter during the night or as soon as they wake up.

And 19 percent of people under the age of 25 say they update Facebook or Twitter anytime they happen to wake up during the night; 11 percent over the age of 25 say they do the same thing.

The study also noted that 42 percent check Facebook or Twitter first thing in the morning, with 28 percent of iPhone users saying they do it before they even get out of bed.

"Among social media users, it appears almost half are so involved with Facebook and Twitter that they check in the first thing in the morning," said Eisner.

"With 16 percent of social media users saying this is how they get their morning news, could we be witnessing the first signs of social media services beginning to replace Good morning America as the source for what's going on in the world?"

In fact, 54 percent of those polled said they get their morning news fix by logging onto Facebook and Twitter.

People seem so into their personal tech that they don't mind being interrupted from dinner, during a trip to the bathroom or even during sex.

The study found that 40 percent of respondents don't mind being interrupted by a text message; 32 percent said interrupting a meal for a message is OK, while 7 percent said they'd even check a message during an intimate moment.

Eleven percent of those under the age of 25 would interrupt sex for a message, and 24 percent under 25 would answer a message in the bathroom.

"Some of this can be ascribed to the newness and freshness of the social networking craze," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group.

"With many people, it will probably smooth out as they become more used to it. However, there will be a percentage of people who become somewhat addicted to social networking - to checking up on it, to maintaining it, to extending it.

"This could cause problems in their real lives as it consumes more and more of their time and attention," Olds said.

Eisner said he's not declaring that social networking is a danger to people, but he is concerned about some of the numbers he saw.

"We're not qualified to declare a societal, social media crisis, but when almost half of social media users say they check Facebook or Twitter sometime during the night or when they first wake up, you have to wonder if these people aren't suffering from some sort of addiction to social media," he said.

See also: Facebook adds on-the-fly search suggestions


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