Lure of Facebook makes it a popular fast for Lent

Nola Boezeman knew she had a problem with Facebook.

The first thing she did in the morning was flip open her laptop and check to see what her friends had posted. The last thing she did at night was sneak another look.

It's not like the 42-year-old mother of two had nothing better to do. But somehow the social networking site had begun to take over her life since she first logged on about five months ago.

By the time Ash Wednesday rolled around, she formed a resolution: No Facebook during Lent, the 40-day season of penitence and prayer preceding Easter.

"It was becoming an obsession," said Boezeman, who lives in Apex. "I thought if I spent half the amount of time I spend on Facebook in prayer or service, it would draw me closer to God."

For centuries, believers have marked Lent with self-denial. Early Christians would take but one meal a day. These days, people give up coffee, soft drinks or dessert. Abstaining from Facebook during Lent is the latest thing to do.

College students were the first to hit on the Facebook fast. This year, adults -- the fastest-growing Facebook demographic group -- have taken on the challenge. Now Italian Roman Catholic bishops are onto it. Sort of. They're urging believers to take a high-tech fast for Lent by switching off iPods and abstaining from instant text messaging.

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