Facebook can have harmful effects on your teens and children including social disorders according to a recent study. Larry Rosen, a psychologist at Cal State Dominguez Hills, conducted a study recently which showed that Facebook can form unhealthy habits and even develop personality disorders in your children and teens. Rosen has been studying the effect of technology on people for more than 25 years. He’s recently studied social networking and its effects on children. He spoke about some of his findings at the American Psychological Assn’s annual convention in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. He stated that young people who use video games and social media more frequently tend to have more stomach aches and suffer from sleeping problems along with anxiety and depression. Also, teens and young adults that log onto Facebook constantly tend to be more narcissistic. The era of social media and broadcasting yourself to others frequently feeds right into the agenda of a narcissist. According to Rosen, the more frequently young people used Facebook, the more likely they were going to develop an antisocial personality disorder. He also said they were likely to suffer from paranoia, anxiety and alcohol abuse. He also analyzed the studying habits of middle school, high school and college students. What he found was that most students were only able to stay focused on their studies for about three minutes before engaging in some kind of communication like texting or mobile phone apps. The students who logged in to their Facebook during studying ended up doing worse on their exams than those that didn’t. According to experts the average teenager sends out more than 2000 texts per month, which is an overwhelming amount of information that can lead to problems with sleep and concentration along with physical stress. Rosen said, “Kids have been raised on the concept of connection,” which is why texting and social media is so popular among them. They mostly value the connection itself, rather than its quality. Texts and social media allow them to speak to more people at the same time than a phone or face-face interaction ever would. He said that parents should have constant, open conversations with their kids about how they are using technology, and not make judgments so they feel comfortable discussing how they behave with other kids online. This could make children more aware that what they say online can hurt others and help them to avoid cyber-bullying. On a positive note he stated that social media allows kids to practice life behind a safety curtain, allowing them to share personal information with their friends and not have to deal with their reactions right away. This could be a real plus for shy kids and could help to get them out of their shells according to Rosen
In the past few years, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that Facebook is to the mind what sugar is to the body. Facebook feed is easy to digest. It has made it easy to consume small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of photos and status updates, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Sadly, we are still far away from beginning to recognise how toxic Facebook can be. Facebook misleads. Take the following event (borrowed from a Facebook friend). A bloke you knew in high school, whom you’ve not met or spoken to in real life since you left high school, has got married. He posts pictures of his wedding taken by a snazzy professional photographer. The pictures gather hundreds of likes and comments. Your friends shower your high school mate with congratulations. There are discussions about the...
Links: your similar minded friends share exacerbates this flaw. We become prone to overconfidence, take stupid risks and misjudge opportunities. It also exacerbates another cognitive error: the story bias. Our brains crave stories that “make sense” – even if they don’t correspond to reality. Any of your friend who writes, “Terrorists should be bombed” or “Cut the rapists penises” is an idiot. I am fed up with this cheap way of “solving” the world’s problems.
Facebook inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. Facebook notifications are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. Cute cat pictures makes us shallow thinkers. But it’s worse than that. Facebook severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nothing gets through. Because Facebook disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Friends who share too much have an even worse impact. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. Facebook is an intentional interruption system.
Facebook works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of your friends’ storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more time we spend on Facebook, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. Most Facebook users – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It’s not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It’s because the physical structure of their brains has changed.
Facebook wastes time. If you check Facebook for 15 minutes each morning, then check it again for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you’re at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Good Instagram pictures are no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?
Facebook makes us passive. Facebook status updates are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of notifications about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitised, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is “learned helplessness”. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if Facebook use, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.
Facebook kills creativity. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a Facebook addict – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. On the other hand, I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume Facebook like drugs.
Society needs social cohesion — but in a different way. Meeting friends in pub is almost always fun. We need people to spend time together in real life rather than in front of screens. Only then can we have meaningful relationships.
Deleting your Facebook profile is not easy, but it’s worth it.
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