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Facebook "turning us into friend addicts"

Friend counters should be banned! says Middle England
Friend counters should be banned! says Middle England

According to the Priory's addiction expert David Smallwood, Facebook is apparently creating 'friendship addiction' which is leading us to feel inadequate.

Psychologist Smallwood believes that the popular social networking site can leave people addicted to acquiring more and more 'friends' and leave the vulnerable feeling left out.

"The problem with Facebook is it's all about acquisition and this is an addictive process," Smallwood told the Daily Mail

Any other fix

"Acquisition of friends is like any other fix but it's competitive - you judge yourself by how many friends you have online.

"You go out of your way to amass friends and that means people bend out of shape and become something they are not.

"I see patients who are on Facebook and my response is "get yourself of [sic] it".

Only three or four people

"…the problem is there are only three to four people who can be at the top in terms of popularity. Anyone else is just an also-ran which increases the feelings of inadequacy."

And lest any of us not take this shocking new social worry seriously, the Daily Mail adds: "Research has shown that in some cases social networking sites are acting as a substitute for proper family life in countries like Britain."

Quite. Alan Partridge has 104 friends – how many do you have?