Facebook Vacation: 61 Percent of Users Take Breaks From Site

Sixty one percent of Facebook users have taken a voluntary break from the site.

ByABC News
February 5, 2013, 10:56 AM

Feb. 5, 2013 — -- Ashley Kiley needed a vacation. A Facebook vacation.

"I needed a break from everyone. I was on the site too much and was wasting too much time looking at information about friends," Kiley, 27, told ABC News.

She had hit a wall -- no pun intended -- and decided to give up Facebook for a while. And Kiley isn't alone. In fact, the majority of Facebook users are doing or have done the same thing.

According to a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 61 percent of Facebook users have taken a voluntary multi-week break from the social network at one point or another. According to Pew, two thirds of online American adults are now on Facebook. (Facebook says it has over a billion active users worldwide, people who log on at least once a month.) Pew's research was based on a phone survey of 1,006 adult Americans over the age of 18.

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So why are they taking some time off? Twenty-one percent of those who took "Facebook vacations" did it because they were too busy and "didn't have time for it," 10 percent said it was becoming a waste of time, while 8 percent said they were sending too much time using the site. Nine percent said there was too much drama, gossip and negativity on the site or among their friends. Twenty percent of those who do not currently use Facebook said they once used the site and have quit.

But not everyone decides giving up Facebook for a while is the route to go. Pew's latest data shows that 27 percent of Facebook users plan to spend less time on the site in the coming year; 69 percent plan to spend the same amount of time on the site. Only three percent plan to spend more time on the site.

Overall, the new data from Pew show that many people are trying to figure out how to balance their time on Facebook. "The data shows that people are trying to make new calibrations in their life to accommodate new social tools," Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet Project and a co-author of the new report, told ABC News. "For some, the central calculation is how they spend their time. For others, it's more of a social reckoning as they ask themselves, 'What are my friends doing and thinking and how much does that matter to me?'"

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What the survey doesn't show, though, is that for many, taking those Facebook vacations can be beneficial. Like a real vacation, some come back rejuvenated and with a new outlook.

"I came back because I felt like I was out of the loop," Kiley, who returned to the site after a month away, said. "But I now budget my time better and don't always find myself reaching for my phone to check my Newsfeed. I now know I can live without it."