Facebook addiction and how it impacts the family

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Facebook addiction By Kristy MacKaben

It's not unusual to catch Erin Mantz sitting on the couch in her living room texting a friend or checking her Facebook page while her sons, ages 8 and 11, play on iPads or fiddle with Instagram nearby.

Mantz admits to spending too much time online. The Potomac mom logs about six hours a day on social media for her public relations job, but it's the personal time she spends on social media sites when she's with her children that causes guilt. She may have a little Facebook addiction going.

"I think it's too much time," Mantz says. "I think it's probably not a good use of my time."

Mantz is not the only mom who admits to spending a bit too much time on social media. There are plenty of moms out there with who upload pictures to Instagram while their children dangle from monkey bars, return texts at warp-speed, blog every detail of their day, "like" multiple Facebook posts and pin countless crafts on Pinterest.

A recent Nielsen study found 54 percent of moms in the U.S. own smart phones and 75 percent regularly use Facebook. Moms also make up one-third of all Pinterest users. Today's moms may not have grown up with smart phones and tablets, but they sure caught on quick.

The pull of social media is strong for many people. Moms, especially, might feel socially isolated or in need of connections and confirmation from peers. Because social media provides constant emotional and mental stimulation, as well as instant gratification, many people easily get hooked, according to Dawn Barie, a licensed clinical social worker and mindfulness-based psychotherapist in College Park.

"In a hectic and fast-paced society, parents are turning to social media to have their needs met as it provides a quick fix," Barie says. Those "needs" might include acknowledgement, inclusion, attention, recognition and appreciation, she says.

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