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How to Defeat a Facebook Addiction
Identifying the Scale of Your ProblemCutting Back GraduallyRemoving Temptations from Your AccountQuestions & AnswersRelated Articles
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If you aren’t able to focus or function properly without regularly checking Facebook, you may feel as though you’re “addicted” to the social media platform. While “Facebook addiction”—sometimes called Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD)—isn’t considered a diagnosable condition by most mental health professionals, it is clear that people can get hooked on using Facebook incessantly, to the potential detriment of their self-esteem and wellbeing. To cut back on your Facebook usage, make an honest assessment of the quantity and quality of the time you spend on the platform. Then, cut back gradually on a regular schedule and adjust your Facebook settings to reduce temptations.
1Identifying the Scale of Your Problem
1Track the amount of time you spend on Facebook for a week. Jot down your start and stop times in a notebook, or use a timer app on your phone, tablet, and/or computer. If you make quick checks throughout the day, keep a running tally, estimate the average length of time, and add the result to your daily total.
- For instance, on one day you might spend 4 hours on Facebook in 3 longer sessions, and check it quickly 30 more times for an average of 2 minutes. This adds up to an estimate of 5 hours on Facebook that day.
- There’s no set amount of time per day that clearly indicates a “Facebook addiction.” However, getting an honest assessment of the time you spend on the platform is a good starting point for determining if you have a problem.
2Find a “Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale” online and rate yourself. While there are variations to the phrasing of the statements and the options presented, this professionally-devised scale asks you to rate your Facebook engagement level based on set of 6 statements. If you choose “often” or “very often” (or the equivalents) in response to at least 4 of the 6 statements, you may have a Facebook addiction. The statement categories include:
- How often you think about Facebook or plan your use of Facebook.
- How often you feel an ever-growing urge to use Facebook.
- How often you use Facebook in an attempt to forget about problems in your life.
- How often you’ve unsuccessfully tried to cut back on your Facebook usage.
- How often you get restless or even unwell when you can’t use Facebook.
- How often your use of Facebook has negatively impacted your job performance, studies, or personal life.
3Ask friends and family about how and how often you use Facebook. See how people who know and care about you assess your Facebook usage. Their perspectives may help you to accept that you have a problem. Ask them questions like:
- “How much time per day do you think I spend on Facebook?”
- “Do you think the amount of time I spend on Facebook is bad for my wellbeing?”
- “Do you feel like I spend time on Facebook instead of spending time with you?”
- “Has my Facebook usage negatively impacted our relationship? If so, how?”
4List things you stopped doing due to Facebook and would do without it. Think back to your life before Facebook (if you can) and write down activities that you did then but no longer do now. Then, make a list of things you’d like to do if you had more time in your day because you cut back on your Facebook time. It’s fine if there is overlap between the 2 lists.
- Perhaps, for example, you used to paint landscapes and volunteer twice per week at the local animal shelter. You might wish to take up both of these activities again, as well as attend more of your children’s sporting events.
2Cutting Back Gradually
1Create a Facebook schedule that reduces over several weeks. Start by creating a schedule that generally mirrors how and when you currently use Facebook. Then, each week, cut back the schedule by 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the pace that feels most manageable to you.
- For instance, you might start with a schedule from 7-8 am, 7-9 pm, and 20 brief check-ins throughout the day. Each week, cut some time from the schedule and the number of check-ins you do.
- There’s no ideal schedule to aspire to—it really depends on what feels best to you. Perhaps you might aim for 30 minutes and 5 check-ins per day.
2Reduce your status updates gradually to once per week. If you currently make updates multiple times per day, cut back to once per day over a period of a few weeks. Then, aim to cut back until you make only a single weekly status update, ideally at the same scheduled time each week.
- If you find that you can keep cutting back until you’re updating once every two weeks or once per month, go for it!
3Carve out a “Facebook free” day each week. After you’ve gradually cut your overall Facebook time and your status update frequency, pick out a no-Facebook day each week. Saturday or Sunday may be a natural choice for many people, but it can be any day of the week that is most manageable for you.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself when you find yourself clicking on the app during a no-Facebook day. It will take time to retrain your habits, but you can do it!
4Add healthy, enjoyable activities to your schedule. If you cut back on Facebook without filling the time with something else, you’ll be very tempted to backslide and get hooked all over again. Purposefully fill the time you’ve taken away from Facebook with activities that you enjoy and that are good for you.
- You might, for instance, go for a 15, then 30, then 45 minute daily walk as you cut back on your Facebook schedule each week. Or, you might find that meditation, yoga, volunteering, or playing with your kids is your preferred substitute.
5Don’t assume you must cut out Facebook completely. You may find, over time, that you don’t “need” Facebook anymore and are okay with quitting it completely. If so, that’s great. If not, that’s also okay. When used in moderation, social media platforms like Facebook can improve self-esteem and overall wellbeing for many users.
- For nearly all users, there’s a tipping point at which Facebook use goes from moderate and potentially beneficial to excessive and increasingly damaging to self-esteem and overall wellbeing. This tipping point varies due to many factors, however, including individual personality traits and mental health status.
6Seek professional therapy if your wellbeing is suffering. Maybe you’ve tried and failed to cut back on your Facebook usage, or perhaps the process—or even just the prospect—of cutting back makes you anxious, depressed, or physically ill. If so, try talking to a trained therapist with expertise in addictive behaviors.
- Even though many experts don’t consider Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) to be a diagnosable condition, many do diagnose and treat Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). Many common IAD strategies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), may be adapted to your case and prove beneficial.
- Talk to your primary care doctor to get recommendations for mental health professionals.
3Removing Temptations from Your Account
1Delete time-wasting Facebook games. Facebook offers many simple, silly games that can easily suck you in and become addictive. For many people, cutting out these games is a good way to begin cutting back on their overall Facebook usage. To do so:
- Navigate to “Settings.”
- Select “Apps.”
- Click the “X” next to the apps and games you want to remove.
2Unsubscribe from notifications, especially push notifications. It’s hard not to check Facebook when you’re getting bombarded with notifications. By eliminating them, you’ll find it much easier to use Facebook on your own time, based on your established schedule.
- To unsubscribe from notifications on the Facebook site, go to “Settings,” select “Notifications,” and adjust the settings to suit your preferences.
- To get rid of push notifications on your mobile device, click on the menu tab in the app, click on “Account Settings,” “Mobile Notifications,” and “Mobile Push,” and uncheck items you don’t want notifications about.
3Cut back on your number of “friends” who aren’t really friends. It may seem harsh at first to purge your list of Facebook friends, but doing so will help you to cut back on the amount of time you spend on the platform. Set a goal to cut back on your friends list by one-third or one-half, and “unfriend” people who don’t make the cut.
- To unfriend someone, simply go to their profile, hover over the “Friends” tab, and click on “Unfriend.”
4Deactivate your account if you need a Facebook vacation. For some people, a temporary break may help them to reset their priorities and better manage their time on Facebook. Try deactivating your account for a day, a weekend, or a full week, then see if you can reactivate it and stick to a reduced schedule.
- To deactivate your account, go to “Settings,” click on “Security,” and select “Deactivate your account.”
- Deactivating your account does not affect any of your data on the platform.
5Delete your account if you want a clean, permanent break. While some people may be able to quit Facebook “cold turkey,” you’re more likely to find that you can live without it after gradually cutting back on your usage. If you’re confident that you want to end your ties to Facebook, go ahead and permanently delete your account.
- To do this, go to “Settings,” click “Download a copy of my data” (unless you’re 100% sure you’re finished with Facebook for good), click to access the “Delete my account” page, then choose to “Delete my account.”
How do I take a break from Facebook?
Change your password to a long, arbitrary string of symbols and deactivate your account. Or, simply make a post letting people know you're on a "detox" and will re-post when you're back in business.
How can I quit on facebook without deactivating my account?
Facebook has a short-term deactivation option, where you decide on and click a specific date of return, whereby facebook logs you back in at that agreed time.
How do celebrities manage their Facebook without addiction and losing their creativity?
Some celebrities probably struggle with this just like we do, but many hire assistants to manage their social media accounts for them, and they just tell the assistant what to post so they don't have to take time out of their day.
How do I delete Facebook?
You can delete the app, or you can go to settings and close your account down.
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