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Mom tries bribe to get kin off Facebook

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ROCK HILL, S.C., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- With social networking cutting into family and study time, one South Carolina mother is offering her daughter $300 to stay off Facebook for a month, she says.

Alyssa Rushing, a student at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, told the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, "I didn't know I was truly addicted."

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Like many users, she was logging on several times a day and has "not too many" friends, around 900.

Rushing's mother Melynda, with only 40 Facebook friends, said, "Something simple that should take three minutes, you get off on rabbit trails and before you know it 40 minutes have gone."

"This is definitely a growing national problem, without a doubt," said Michael Gilbert of the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California.

Social networking takes a different toll on family life from TV, he added. Families can watch television together, but social networks peel children off into their own peer-dominated social circles.

Gilbert cited studies showing family "face time" began falling off around 2006, about when Facebook and other social networks began taking off. Families' face-to-face interaction time dropped from about 26 hours a week in 2006 to about 17 hours now.

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